This is not your typical pesto pasta.
This pasta is loaded with fresh basil, walnuts, roasted tomatoes, wilted spinach and arugula. I had an abundance of fresh basil and leftover walnuts which needed to be put to good use. The two of them together make a perfect combination for pesto.
Pesto is typically made with fresh basil and pine-nuts. However nowadays you will see many variations of pesto. They range from adding walnuts, pecans, or even almonds. Mint and parsley can be used in place of the basil.
The trick to any good pesto is a good quality olive oil. Better yet, good quality olive oil that is added SLOOOOWLY into the food processor. If you add the oil all at once it will separate and not be thick and creamy like we want.
To make the walnut-basil pesto we start by adding walnuts and garlic to our food processor and pulse for 30 seconds. The texture will look similar to wet sand.
Next add in the fresh basil and pulse for an additional 30 seconds.
Add olive oil in a slow steady stream. (If you are not able to add in oil with the food processor running, add 1-2 tablespoons of oil at a time and pulse for 10 seconds.
To make the roasted cherry tomatoes start by cutting tomatoes in half and placing them cut side down onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes.
The tomatoes come out of the oven tender and caramelized. You will be amazed at how sweet the tomatoes become after they are roasted.
The roasted tomatoes can take on many uses as well. Puree them in a blender or food processor and serve as a quick pasta sauce.
This basil-walnut pesto is so simple to make and can be used as a dressing for vegetables, or a sauce for rice. Enjoy! ♥
Pesto Pasta with, roasted tomatoes and wilted greens
- 13.25 ounces whole wheat thin spaghetti
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 3 whole garlic cloves
- 2 1/2 cups basil
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp plus 1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 10.5 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 3 cups arugula and spinach mix
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Boil pasta until al-dente per box instructions. My pasta took about 6 minutes to cook.
While pasta is cooking add walnuts and garlic cloves to a food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds. Add in basil and pulse for an additional 30 seconds.Make sure to stir in between to make sure everything is mixed properly. Add olive oil in a slow steady stream. If pesto is too thick add in a bit more olive oil. Stir in 1 tbsp parmesan cheese.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise. Place cut side down onto baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes until caramelized. You will need to scrape the tomatoes off the pan with a spatula.
When pasta is done cooking make sure to drain and immediately put back into pan. Toss with the arugula / spinach mix. The heat from the pasta will wilt the greens. Fold in the pesto, roasted tomatoes, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and season with 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.