So what do you do with a pantry full of pasta? Make Sun Dried Tomato Pesto for a fast and easy weeknight dinner. This vegetarian dish is great with grilled chicken or crumbled bacon for the "meat lovers" in your life.
I can't be sure... but, I think Ted Allen from "Chopped" was at my house this weekend. I have a distinct image in my mind of his tidy suit and rimmed glasses standing beside my open pantry door and saying, "GO!" Of course, it could have been a fever induced hallucination... I can't be sure about that.
I do have to say, that I am pretty proud of the Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta that I came up with this weekend. I'm usually not a big "cooking from the pantry" kinda gal. There are way too many carbs in the pantry (like pasta, rice and the dreaded beans) for someone who is always on the look out for ways to shave as many carbs as possible out of my diet. Plus, I've become a little spoiled by the fresh produce that is so readily available these days (not like the canned spinach and asparagus of my childhood).
But, after more than a week's worth of "head ache, fever, stuffy nose so you can't sleep," I knew I couldn't face another peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The Hubby was out of town so I had no one to cook for me or send to the grocery store. Calling the pizza delivery guy was definitely out. I would have to answer the door in my "jammies" or actually get dressed. That's when I decided to invite Ted and the team of judges over to play a little game of "Chopped." You know, the show where chefs are given a basket filled with weird ingredients and about 8 minutes to make the most amazing dish ever... or at least something edible. Well, I thought I would give it a go, cook something straight out of my pantry and see what I came up with.
Looking in my pantry for something to make a dish out of was not as easy as I thought. The pantry is mostly filled with my beloved baking ingredients. After pushing aside the chocolates and cocoas and sugars and flavorings, I found something I could actually use: one jar of sun dried tomatoes, a package of pasta, half a bag of nuts, a box of chicken stock and some Mexican oregano from the window sill. Throw in an onion from the bottom of the bin and I was good to go.
It was really a lot of fun to stretch my imagination and come up with a dish that was really good. I will definitely cook this again. Maybe next time I will add some grilled chicken or maybe a meatball or two.
By the time I was finished, I was feeling a lot better. I scuttled back to bed with my book and let Tim do the dishes... at least I hope he was doing the dishes. I can't be sure about that.
- 8 ounces spaghetti
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 (7 ounce) jar sun dried tomatoes in oil
- ½ cup walnuts, pepitas or pine nuts
- 1 glove garlic, peeled
- 3 tablespoons fresh Mexican oregano (regular may be used)
- 1 tablespoon marjoram (optional)
- ½ cup fresh grated cotija or parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ small onion, minced
- ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
- Salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- warm water, if necessary for texture
- fresh oregano leaves (optional)
- shaved parmesan cheese
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Make tomato pesto by placing sun dried tomatoes, nuts, garlic, oregano, marjoram and parmesan cheese into a food processor. Blend ingredients into a paste.
- Add salt and spaghetti to the boiling water. Cook for about 8 minutes or until just tender.
- Meanwhile, heat a saute pan over medium heat. Add the oil and saute the onion until translucent. Add tomato pesto and heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add chicken or vegetable stock. Stir and bring to a simmer.
- Remove pasta from boiling water and add to the pesto mixture. Toss together until all of the spaghetti is is coated with pesto.
- Add more stock or warm water if necessary for texture.
- Heat together and sprinkle with fresh oregano.
- Grate a little parmesan cheese over the pasta and serve.
It looks like some friends of mine had the same idea of pesto with pasta.
Light Creamy Pesto Ravioli by Barbara Bakes
Easy Recipe for Baked Pesto Chicken by Kalyn's Kitchen
Healthy Lasagna Recipe with Turkey, Pesto and Peppers by Cookin' Canuck
Kale and Sunflower Seed Pesto by Apron Strings
If you do need a fast and easy dish, for weeknights or anytime, give this recipe a try and let me know what you think... you be the judge!
-posted by Sandy