I had an all-American weekend full of good friends and food, punctuated by flashes and booms. It was overwhelmingly fun. You know what I mean? Since we’re all in the same boat, I thought I’d share my three-day holiday weekend recovery plan with you today.
Here it is: organic whole grain pasta, tossed with tons of roasted veggies and homemade sun-dried tomato pesto. It’s fresh, filling and leftovers keep well for lunch. Just what the doctor ordered.
Sun-dried tomato pesto has been on my list for ages now, so when my friends at DeLallo asked me to create a recipe that highlights their fantastic sun-dried tomatoes, I knew just what to make. Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes are perfect for pesto, since you can pour all of that delicious, tomato-infused extra-virgin olive oil right into the food processor.
My pesto is a riff on traditional basil pesto, with sun-dried tomatoes in addition to fresh basil. Sun-dried tomatoes are super rich in umami flavor, so they easily fill the place of Parmesan, although you can certainly add some cheese if you’d like.
I like my pasta with tons of vegetables, so I roasted up a big pan of balsamic summer veggies to go on top. I think it would be fantastic with roasted broccoli and winter squash, too. Feel free to play around with pasta shapes, too. Curly shapes really grab hold of pesto, but penne would work, too. To really lighten it up, cook up some fettuccine or linguine and supplement with squash noodles like I did last summer. Yum.
You can go in a lot of different directions with this pesto. Spread it on a sandwich or toast, serve it as a vegetable dip, or thin it out with extra olive oil (or even some water) and use it as a sauce for any number of things. Let me know how you like it!
- One 6.7-ounce jar DeLallo sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil*
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves, plus extra for garnishing
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Totally optional: ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan or nutritional yeast, to taste
- 8 ounces whole grain pasta (I used DeLallo's organic whole wheat gemelli, but rotini or penne would work well, too)
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 medium yellow squash, diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper (or orange or yellow), diced
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- To roast the vegetables: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk together the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. On a half-sheet pan or other large, rimmed baking sheet, combine the diced zucchini, yellow squash, bell pepper and onion. Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the vegetables, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss with your hands until the vegetables are evenly coated. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, tossing halfway, until they are cooked through and golden.
- To cook the pasta: Bring a large post of salted water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Before draining, reserve about 1 cup pasta cooking water. Transfer the cooked pasta to a large serving bowl.
- To make the pesto: First, toast the almonds in a small skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 4 minutes. In the bowl of your food processor (a blender might work, too), combine the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, the basil, toasted almonds, garlic, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Blend, scraping down the sides as necessary, until the contents are mixed together and roughly uniform. Drizzle in the olive oil while running the machine and blend until you’ve reached a relatively smooth, pesto-like consistency. If you’d like to add Parmesan, stir it into the pesto now. Taste and stir in additional salt and pepper, if necessary. The pesto will be thick, but we’ll thin it out with cooking water soon.
- Pour the pesto into the warm pasta and drizzle in ¼ cup reserved cooking water. Toss to combine, adding more splashes of cooking water to thin as necessary. Toss in the roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with some chopped fresh basil and serve.
*Sun-dried tomato notes: My jar amounted to about 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes and ¼ cup olive oil.
Make it vegan/dairy free: Don't add Parmesan. Feel free to mix in some nutritional yeast for some cheese-like flavor, but the sun-dried tomatoes and toasted almonds are pretty rich in umami as it is.
Make it gluten free: Use gluten-free pasta.
Make it nut free: Skip the almonds altogether.
Serving suggestions: I'd serve this with a fresh green salad, like this apple salad or this arugula salad. I really enjoyed it with leftover Greek broccoli salad!
Storage suggestions: This recipe keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for several days.
This post was created in partnership with DeLallo Foods and I received compensation for my participation. Opinions are my own, always. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who support C+K!