Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tomato and Basil Pesto Pasta

Finally! I'm readjusting from my summer vacation, and I'm rediscovering a balance between work and cooking most every night. I'm thinking more of fast and easy work night dinners, and waiting until weekends to experiment with new recipes. If you've been following my blog for a while (and I thank you for that), you've probably figured out that my idea of fast food involves fresh ingredients, no processed food nor canned soups nor fast food chain dinners. Pasta will always been my "go to" when I want to make something fast and fresh.

Our backyard is brimming with juicy, ripe, red tomatoes. Lots of them! One of my personal favorites are the Sweet 100's that have reached their peak of ripeness. They are so sweet, that I enjoy popping them in my mouth like candy.

No kidding! I am already sad, thinking that these will be completely gone within a couple of weeks.

My basil plants are also slowing down in growing new leaves, and I think that's another tell-tale sign that fall is coming. The basil plants are in containers (we have a bad gopher problem), so I decided to trim the plants to make pesto. I wish I had photographed these steps, but making the pesto was a total whim. You see, I had planned to pick a few basil leaves to make Margherita Pasta-- based on my absolute favorite pizza, which is Margherita Pizza-- a beautiful crust, olive oil or pesto, sliced Roma tomatoes, mozarella and fresh basil. Oh, yeah!

I wanted a super fast dinner, so I cooked a package of penne pasta. In a skillet, I heated olive oil and slowly heated these beautiful freshly picked tomatoes:

My original plan was to add fresh chopped garlic, the penne and some fresh mozarella. But then... I decided to quickly made my own pesto. Pesto is so easy to make, if you have a food processor. I made a classic pesto with fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil, salt & pepper, freshly ground parmesan and fresh garlic cloves (the recipe is at the bottom). I like to freeze my pesto in an ice cube tray, then store it in a ziploc bag in the freezer. That way, I have it ready to go for a quick pasta sauce-- so that's exactly what I did...

This dinner took 15 minutes to make--

... and it was so delicious!

Do you see the melted mozzarella? I even found a quarter loaf of Pioneer Woman's Cheesy Garlic Bread that I warmed up in the oven. I ate only one piece, and my tall and lithe son happily polished off the rest of the bread. That really is a great recipe from Ree (The Pioneer Woman Cooks).

Ahhhhhh, fast food! My way!

This weekend, I'm baking. It's been too long since I've posted a recipe for something from my oven. Coming soon!

Tomato and Basil Pesto Pasta

Pesto is very simple to make, if you have a ...

See Tomato and Basil Pesto Pasta on Key Ingredient.

PW Garlic Cheese Bread

This wonderful recipe comes from the very popular "The Pioneer ...

See PW Garlic Cheese Bread on Key Ingredient.

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Frieda said...

Love Rhee and your Pesto looks amazing~

Angie's Recipes said...

The pasta looks simply delicious!

Angie's Recipes

Donna-FFW said...

PERFECT end of the summer dish!! It looks so so so delicious!! PWs cheesy garlic bread is a fav of mine.

Stacey Snacks said...

Sweet 100's are my favorite tomato.
I LOVE THEM, they are like candy!

I could eat a variation of this dish everyday.
Roast up those babies w/ a little balsamic and kosher salt and olive oil. Then throw on the hot pasta w/ torn basil. My favorite!

(and get that fig tree!)

Phoo-D said...

Your tomatoes are making my mouth water! Beautiful.

TheKitchenWitch said...

Love those meals that taste good and take 15 minutes. I'm jealous of your tomatoes!

Danielle said...

I love homemade pesto...and those quick, easy, tasty weeknight dinners (I don't get home some nights until 7:00). Your dish looks so refreshing and full on wonder flavors.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Perfect summer dish. I love Sweet 100's. We didn't plant them this year and miss them. Instead we did larger heirloom tomatoes, which are great but miss the little guys. All I can find at the supermarket are the grape ones. Sometimes I can find the Sweet 100's at the farmers market.

Bella said...

Well, I know what I want to prepare for dinner! Looks scrumptious. That garlic toast . . . oh my goodness Debby!

Monica H said...

Now if we could only order such a thing from a drive thru!

This would be licious even without the tomatoes. Yum!


Marguerite said...

Hi Debby, I found your blog on Widgetbox and it is fabulous! I love this recipe and your blog. The pasta and pesto and garlic bread all look divine. Thanks for sharing!

Judy said...

This looks so delicious and easy. Nice photos. BTW, I'm following you. Don't want to miss a post.