Thursday, March 7, 2013

Orecchiette with Pesto, Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Tomatoes

Lately, I've been experimenting with different ways to use my new favorite veggie, Brussels Sprouts.  Turns out, they go wonderfully with pesto in this pasta dish! I put this pasta together, sort of on a whim and in a hurry, and I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

Homemade pesto is so easy to whip up, but if you'd prefer, you could also use a jarred pesto. Pesto is traditionally made with pine nuts, but since I had some walnuts in the freezer I substituted those instead and the end result had very similar flavor and texture.  The roasted cherry tomatoes add a nice tang to the dish as well.

Ingredients (serves 6 as a side):
* 1 lb. orecchiette pasta
* 1/2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
* 1 bag of brussels sprouts, halved or quartered, depending on size
* 3 tbsp. olive oil
* Salt, pepper

For the Pesto:
* 1/3 c. walnuts, roughly chopped
* 1 c. fresh basil, roughly chopped
* 1 garlic clove
* 1/3 c. parmesan cheese, grated
* 3/4 c. olive oil

First prepare the pesto.  Heat a dry saut√© pan over medium high heat and add walnuts.  Heat the for two minutes or so; set aside.  Add walnuts and all remaining ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375.  On a sheet pan, toss brussels sprouts and cherry tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Roast veggies for 20-25 minutes or until brussels sprouts are golden. Prepare the pasta according to package directions.  Once it is al dente, drain it, return it to the pot, and add roasted veggies to the pasta.  Add 3 tablespoons of pesto and stir well to combine.  Add more pesto if preferable.  Enjoy!

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