Monday, January 20, 2014

Dinner in 20 - Fusilli with Classic Pesto (& Pomegranate!)

Around here, weeknight dinners are rarely more than a thirty minute affair, but when I'm looking for something even faster (case of the Mondays, anyone?) a simple pasta meal is always my go-to. Seeing as it's Meatless Monday, I'm sharing our latest recipe for traditional pesto (check out two more unique versions here and here) perfectly sized for a quick and hearty meal for two. If you're open to a tasty and unexpected twist, follow our lead and sprinkle tart, crunchy pomegranate arils for an extra antioxidant punch. Enjoy! 

Fusilli with Classic Pesto (+ Pomegranate!) Photo: NK 

Classic Pesto for Two + Pomegranate
Serves 2 as a hearty main course

1/2 Pound Pasta of your choice - (we love Fusilli - the shape really lends itself to pesto!)
1 1/2 Cups whole Basil Leaves, lightly packed
2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts (substitute finely chopped walnuts or almonds)
3 large Garlic Cloves
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 Cup grated Parmigiana Cheese + more for serving
1/8 teaspoon Salt
Several pinches Black Pepper
A squeeze of Lemon Juice, optional
Crushed Red Pepper, optional
3 Tablespoons Pomegranate Arils, optional

1. Set a pot of salted pasta water on the stove to boil. Once boiling, prepare pasta according to package instructions.

2. While water is heating, prepare the pesto. Place Basil, Pine Nuts, Garlic and Oil in a food processor. Process until fully combined and finely chopped, about 30 seconds or more. Add the Parmigiana Cheese and Process again along with an 1/8 teaspoon (a few pinches) of Salt. Add several pinches of Black Pepper and remove pesto to a small bowl. Add a squeeze of Lemon Juice and taste the Pesto for seasoning. Adjust if necessary. 

3. When pasta is finished, drain it and return it to the pot. Add at least three heaping tablespoons of Pesto to the pasta (more if you like) and stir to combine. Add an optional pinch of Crushed Red Pepper and add the optional Pomegranate Arils. Serve with extra grated cheese. Enjoy! 

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