California Central Coast Recipes
Sun-dried Tomato and Walnut Pesto with Fusilli
Sun-dried Tomato and Walnut Pesto with Fusilli is a quick and inexpensive pasta with a lot of flair and taste. Hydrated sun-dried tomatoes perk-up to become a good foil for toasted walnuts, golden onions, oregano and garlic in a delicious pesto served on fusilli. It's an inexpensive and quick dinner to throw together once you have rehydrated your sun-dried tomatoes.
Sun dried tomatoes keep really well, and are available in most grocery's produce sections. Look for ones that have a little moisture left, they should be bright red and pliable. Bag any unused tomatoes and store them in your refrigerator to keep them fresh. Of course if you'd prefer to use oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, that's an option as well. Although not quite as economical, they do eliminate the hydration step and speed up the dinner prep.
Preparation time: 30 minutesCooking time: 15 minutes
1 cup Sun-dried tomatoes
2 cups hot Water
1 Tablespoons unsalted Butter
1/4 cup Extra virgin
1 small white Onion , peeled and chopped
2 cloves Garlic , peeled and chopped
3/4 cup Walnuts , coarsely chopped
3 Tablespoons Oregano , chopped or
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt to taste
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste
1/2 pound Fursilli pasta
2 Tablespoons Italian parsley or fresh oregano , chopped for garnish
Parmesan Cheese , freshly grated for the table
1 Before you do anything else, put your dried sun-dried tomatoes in a non-reactive bowl and add the hot water to cover the tomatoes. Let sit at least a half hour.
2 When the tomatoes are hydrated, drain off the excess water, then put the drained tomatoes into a food processor, blender or by hand coarsely chop. Set aside.
3 Coarsely chop the walnuts either in the food processor or by hand. Set aside.
4 Melt the butter and the olive oil in a large nonreactive pan over medium-low heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until onions become softened and start to turn golden. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. If needed, add a little more olive oil to help the cooking process.
5 Add in the walnuts to the mixture and toast lightly. Add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes to the pan and saute just enough to heat through.
6 Add the oregano to the mixture and stir thoroughly to evenly distribute throughout the mixture.
7 Add salt and black pepper to taste. Correct the seasonings.
8 In the meantime, cook the pasta in a large stockpot of boiling water, for about 10 minutes to al dente or as directed on the package. When done, remove and drain the pasta well. save a little of the hot water to add to the pesto if too thick.
9 Add the drained pasta to the finished pesto. Toss well to distribute. Correct seasoning again.
10 Serve on individual dinner plates, topping each plate with a little freshly cut oregano or Italian parsley. Be sure to have the Parmesan cheese available at the table.
11 Serve with a salad and some crusty bread.
Any tomato friendly wine will pair well. Try a rustic Rhone-style red wine blend