Written by : Chris
I will be the first to admit that I take shortcuts when it comes to meal preparation. And by shortcuts, I don’t mean I don’t cook. It’s quite the contrary. I cook dinner for my family nearly every night. A shortcut to me means that I take a prepared food, like BUITONI® pasta, and add fresh ingredients like seasonal vegetables and fruits to make it a complete meal that my entire family will enjoy. Lately I have been obsessed with making fresh pesto sauces.
“Pesto” literally means to pound or crush, a reference to how the original pesto was prepared. I’ve found that a mortar and pestle produces the best pesto, but it also takes little more time. Therefore, I prefer to use a food processor so that the pesto is ready in a matter of minutes.
Pesto is typically made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese, and high-quality olive oil. But it’s fun to mix it up!
Kale can be used in place of basil, and walnuts in place of pine nuts, as in this Kale & Toasted Nut Pesto (pictured above).
I happen to love sun-dried tomato pesto and make this Sun-Dried Tomato & Walnut Pesto all the time (pictured above). It’s rich and flavorful and oh-so easy! When added to BUITONI® Tortellini, it’s perfect for a weeknight meal! It’s also great for entertaining. Just double or triple the recipe as needed.
Here’s the recipe for Sun-Dried Tomato & Walnut Pesto with Herb Chicken Tortellini (to print, just click the link):
Ingredients for six 1-cup servings:
1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (about 8 sun-dried tomato halves)
1/4 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Pinch ground black pepper
1/4 cup good quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
1 package (20 oz.) BUITONI Refrigerated Herb Chicken Tortellini
ADD sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and black pepper to food processor; process until finely chopped. Gradually add oil; process until combined. Add cheese; pulse to combine.
PREPARE pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup cooking water. Toss pasta with pesto and ¼ cup reserved cooking water. Thin with additional water, if desired. Garnish with basil.
Cook’s Tips: Made in advance and stored tightly covered in the refrigerator, this pesto should last for up to 1 week. If you want to freeze the pesto, omit the cheese since it doesn’t freeze too well. Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap, and fill each pocket with the pesto. Freeze and them remove the ice tray and store in a freezer bag. When ready to use, defrost, then stir in cheese.
So what are your latest cooking obsessions?
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