Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pesto Pasta

This is another one from my surgery recovery meals... the leftovers got frozen for me before I could get any pictures. Because of my protein needs - we added some grilled chicken to each serving for me.

Pesto Pasta
Courtesy of Renee

The pasta (remember i'm guesstimating here, so the numbers won't be exact)

Pasta Ingredients:
1 package whole wheat penne pasta (cooked firm)
1 tsp Dried Italian Seasoning
3 med., firm yellow squash (cut in bite sized chunks)
1 large orange bell pepper (sliced, then cut in 1-2" lengths)
1 medium tomato on the vine (cut in bite sized chunks)
3 fresh cloves garlic (minced)
1/4 of a medium onion (minced)
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tbsp Lemon Pepper
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta until firm (about 9 minutes), drain and rinse.
2. Return pasta to pot, drizzle 2 tbsp EVOO and add 1/2 t Italian seasoning. Toss, set aside.
3. In a medium iron skillet, heat 2 tbsp EVOO to medium-low heat.
4. Add minced onions and garlic + a little kosher salt, sweat(not you, the onions!)
5. Turn heat to med and allow garlic and onions to brown a little, add in squash, 1/2 t Italian Seasoning, Lemon Pepper. Cook 1 min or so. (The squash will release a lot of water, so you will have to turn up the heat so they don't get squishy.)
6. Throw in bell pepper, cook until peppers begin to change color, then add in tomato. Toss all together to evenly spread garlic, onions, and herbs, then throw it in with the pasta. Mix together being careful not to break the pasta.The key here is to add things quickly so the veggies don't get soupy or squishy.

The pesto (you need a small food processor):
Makes enough for about 6 meals:
1 hand full Sun-dried tomatoes
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
4 cloves garlic
4oz fresh basil
fresh lemon juice (i use the kind in the plastic lemon so I don't have to squeeze lemons)
3 tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese

1. Steam a hand full of sun-dried tomatoes so they come back to life.
2. Process garlic, a little EVOO, and tomatoes until they form a thick paste. Add EVOO as necessary. Set aside in a bowl.
3. Remove basil leaves from stems. Wash thoroughly! Remove any brown spots.
4. Add a hand full of basil leaves, about a T of lemon juice and a drizzle of EVOO to the food processor and process until leaves are finely chopped. Repeat until all leaves are used.
5. Return tomato mixture to processor, add cheese and about a teaspoon of Kosher salt (to taste) and blend together.
6. Put about 2 tbsp of pesto per 1 package of pasta. Add a little EVOO to pasta to coat noodles if necessary. Mix well and serve.

For the rest of the pesto:
In an ice cube tray, drop about 1 tbsp of pesto into each section (it probably won't fill the whole tray). Cover with plastic wrap and push the plastic into the pesto so there is NO AIR touching the pesto. Freeze a couple of hours. Take Pesto cubes out of ice tray and place in a freezer bag. Suck as much air out of the bag as you can.

To use frozen pesto:
Take out needed amount and reheat in saucepan on low heat or toss it into the hot pasta right after you drain it and let it melt into the pasta.
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