Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

I am so excited, because my favorite bulk grocery store in Santa Cruz just added a variety of pasta in bulk. I haven’t made pasta in so long, because it either comes in plastic or cardboard with a plastic window. It is getting into fall and I’ve been craving warm comfort food, plus the tomato plants in my garden are still producing loads of tomatoes…Which means tomato sauce pasta for dinner! I actually have never really been much of a marinara spaghetti type of person, but I love pesto. The bold flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes will not disappoint.

This recipe uses dry sun-dried tomatoes I got from the grocery store, homemade tomato paste, and fresh tomatoes. IMG_3015

IMG_3014Ingredients:

Sun-dried tomato pesto:

  • 1 cup dry sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste (1 pound fresh tomatoes)
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 3 stalks fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Veggie Pasta:

  • 6 small tomatoes
  • 15 white mushrooms
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach
  • 4 cups or one box fusilli pasta (or pasta of your choice)

Instructions:

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

  1. Soak sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for about 5 minutes or until soft.
  2. Cut and remove seeds from the fresh tomatoes. Remove leaves from basil stalks. Place basil leaves and all other ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Stop periodically to scrape down the sides and adjust salt and pepper to liking.

Tomato Paste

  1. Remove the tops of the tomatoes. Place tomatoes into a pot of boiling water about 2-3 minutes to let to skins peel off.
  2. Remove the skins from the tomatoes. Puncture several holes into the tomato, then squeeze in your hand to squeeze out the seeds and juice.
  3. Blend tomatoes in a high speed blender. Place the tomato sauce in a pot on the stove and simmer until the sauce is very thick.

Veggie Pasta

  1. Saute sliced mushrooms and a little water in a skillet over medium heat. Chop spinach and tomatoes while the mushrooms are cooking. Once the mushrooms are tender, add tomatoes and spinach and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Cook pasta according to pasta cooking directions. Strain and place back into the pot.
  3.  Add sun-dried tomato pesto a little bit at a time while mixing it into the pasta. Mix in the vegetables and add pesto until the pasta and veggies are covered.
  4. Leftover pesto can be stored in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for a few months. Leftover pesto also goes great on sandwiches and veggie burgers!

Let me know if you make this recipe! Leave a comment, take a picture, and tag your creation on Instagram #plantifulpicnic.



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