Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cream Pesto Baked Pasta

It's no surprise that lately I have a slight obsession with sun dried tomatoes. I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe it's because I love tomatoes in general. They make my top five favorite foods list. Or maybe its because they are chewy and sweet and savory. They are so versatile and easy to use. One of my favorite ways to use sun dried tomatoes is as a pesto. It's an escape from the now basil version that everyone associates with pesto. Pesto simply means paste in Italian so you can basically make any type of paste you want and call it a pesto. This pesto  is super easy to make and is so delicious you will have forgotten about your old friend basil. After preparing the pesto, I sauteed it for a few minutes in a pan and added cream. After mixing the pasta and cream pesto together, I placed it in ramekin and topped it with some shredded mozzarella and stuck it under the broiler for just a couple minutes so that the top gets golden and crispy. This entire recipe takes under 30 minutes to make and is so creamy and satisfying, I promise you it will soon become one of your favorite comfort foods.

The colors of Italy... :)

Into the food processor they go. The only problem here is that after pulsing this a few times, I realized that it wasn't going to be enough to make into a paste since I used dry packed sun dried tomatoes. So I switched to a hand blender. Although I would recommend (and I wrote the recipe as such) jarred sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil.

I used olive oil when pulsing the ingredients in the food processor, but because the jarred ones would have been soaking in the olive oil, it will paste much easier.

After using my hand blender (and after using olive oil jarred sun dried tomatoes in the food processor) this is what the pesto should look like. 

Add the cream to the sauteed pesto and let it simmer for a few minutes to thicken.

I placed the mixed pasta into a fancy French onion soup style ramekin. For the sake of the beauty of the  blog... :)

A little shredded cheese never does any harm.

Hmmmm and the final product. Creamy, crispy, heavenly.

Cream Pesto Baked Pasta
Makes 4 servings. 
1 bag rotini shaped pasta
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, jarred in olive oil
5 garlic cloves 
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
In a food processor, put sun dried tomatoes, garlic, parsley and 2 tbsp. of the jar oil and pulse until finely minced like a paste. 
Pour the pesto into a skillet and saute over medium heat for 2 -3 minutes stirring constantly. (Do not leave unattended, will burn easily) Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened slightly, about 1-3 minutes. Pour over pasta and mix well. Place in oven safe ramekins and top with shredded cheese, 1/4 cup per ramekin. Broil on high for 5 minutes or until cheese is golden crisp and bubbly. 

No comments:

Post a Comment