I’m not entirely sure why we plant basil in our garden – I’m not the biggest fan of it by itself. Plus, it grows really fast and then you are stuck trying to figure out what to do with it! The best way to use a good bunch of basil (IMO) is to make pesto, and thankfully, it makes a quick dinner, too.
Here is what you will need for the pesto:
- 5-6 cups of fresh basil
- about a 1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts (reserve a good handful to top off the pasta)
- two garlic cloves
- about 3/4 cup of grated parmesan
- 1/2-3/4 cup of olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
First, toast the pine nuts on the stove. Put them in a pan on medium heat and watch them like crazy – slowly moving them back and forth from time-to-time. They are expensive and burn quickly so don’t cook while distracted!
Once the pine nuts are toasted and cooled, add them to a food processor along with the basil, garlic, parm, salt, pepper and half of the olive oil. Give a good whirl until everything is combined. If you want your pesto more oily, add more olive oil. I think this is totally a preference thing so I will leave it up to you!
Also, this recipes makes a ton of pesto so if you have left overs you can totally freeze it.
Now for the pasta, here is what you will need:
- your favorite pasta, I like angel hair for this one
- two pints of your preferred cherry tomatoes
- olive oil
- fresh ground pepper
- and more parm to top it off
First, halve your cherry tomatoes. I squeeze all of the seeds out of them – I once read that they are the most difficult thing for your body to digest so now I do that without even thinking. I have no idea if that is true or not, but I still do it! Once you cut up all of your tomatoes put them on a sheet pan and drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Put them in the oven at 375 degrees until the skin starts to pucker and the tomatoes are soft. Say 10-15 minutes. All ovens are slightly different so just keep an eye on them.
Then cook your pasta as you would. Reserve a little of the pasta water in case you want to thin out your pesto a bit. Mix the pasta with the pesto and plate. Top with the roasted cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and parm. I also like to add a little fresh cracked pepper on top and enjoy!