Thursday 18 June 2009

Spaghetti with pesto and roast tomatoes

I'm on a bit of pesto kick at the moment. The local greengrocer is full of fat bunches of basil and there's no other way to use one up before it goes off even if you add basil to everything. Not that making pesto is a hardship. It's so bright and flavourful and vivid in flavour - light years away from the drab, almost khaki-coloured paste you get in jars.

Since I posted the recipe on my student site we've been having it slathered over everything which is why there wasn't quite enough to make the sauce I devised for our pasta lunch today (Napolina spaghetti being on special offer in Somerfield at the moment at 2 packs for £1.50). And why it looks slightly duller than it should. (I had to add a dollop of Sacla green pesto to stretch it)

Anyway it's a nice recipe potentially for you other pesto addicts out there . . .

Serves 2
225g spaghetti or linguini
2 tbsp olive oil
150g cherry tomatoes
1 tsp chopped fresh oregano (optional)
2 good dollops homemade green pesto (find the recipe here)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little shaved or grated parmesan

Put a large pan of water on to boil, add salt and cook the spaghetti or linguini following the instructions on the pack. While the pasta is cooking heat the oil in a frying pan and add the tomatoes. Cook over a medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally until the tomatoes are soft and beginning to char. Chuck in the oregano if you have some. Drain the pasta reserving a little of the cooking water then return to the pan. Spoon in the oil you used for cooking the tomatoes then add the pesto and a couple of spoonfuls of cooking water and toss well together. Tip the pasta into warm bowls, top with the roasted tomatoes and shave or grate over a little parmesan.

What am I going to do with the rest of the Sacla pesto that's now sitting accusingly in the fridge? Mix it with breadcrumbs and make a topping for fish. Add it to sandwiches. Stir it into a soup. Possibly zip it up with some more fresh basil - although I'd rather use any new basil for a fresh batch of homemade pesto. Any other ideas?


Claire said...

I personally like it best in pea and pesto soup - peas cooked with stock, add teaspoon of pesto, whizz with hand blender and serve with some black pepper or a little grated cheese. Lovely!!

Alternatively, I like pesto on salmon, then grilled.

Anonymous said...

I love pesto, so versatile. I make asparagus from the ends sometimes and also watercress is very good, if you have lots leftover.

This kind of dish is great topped with pine nuts or the more frugal fried breadcrumbs!

Fiona Beckett said...

All good suggestions! Especially the idea of crisp breadcrumb topping for pasta. That works really well with pesto which is cheesy itself so you don't necessarily want more cheese on top.

Emily said...

I like it mixed into savoury scones. Perfect for picnics with a little herb butter, or lovely on the side of vegetable soups.

Sarah said...

Sounds great - could I use a hard sheep cheese for the pesto as I'm cow-dairy intolerant?

Fiona Beckett said...

Great idea Emily - I hadn't thought of that. And yes, Sarah, you could use a sheep's cheese. Aged Pecorino would be the type to go for

Sarah said...

Thanks! I'll keep an eye out for that at the supermarket or maybe the local marché would be a better bet!

maggiedon said...

Spread it on bruschetta and top with wilted spinach, roasted tomatoes, a poached egg and some parmesan...mmmmmmmmmmm

hungrystudent said...

If anyone's stuck on what to do with leftover pesto, I've found it freezes really well in ice cube trays. Not an original idea of mine, but a really good one!

I usually make a big batch when I find basil on sale, spray an ice cube tray lightly with nonstick and then spoon it in. I lay a large piece of plastic wrap over top, press it down lightly so its just barely touching the pesto, tuck the rest of the wrap under and stick it in the freezer.

Keeps wonderfully. And its super convenient to just drop cubes of it into sauces and soups. Its also really yummy if you substitute fresh spinach for the basil.

Fiona Beckett said...

Two star ideas! I really like the combination of pesto and roast tomatoes - must be very umami and freezing pesto sounds a great idea. Having fresh pesto cubes to add to a dish once basil is over or is too expensive to buy regularly would be a great treat