Penne Pesto with Fresh Tomatoes
My husband kissed me after I made this for dinner and our son told me I’m a great cook. Of course, no need to tell your adoring fans (a.k.a. well-fed family) how easy it was to make. You can also stir 1 bag of baby spinach into the boiling water with the pasta for the last minute of cooking and proceed with the directions below for an even more colorful and healthy dish.
- 16 oz. penne noodles (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed)
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced, about 1 tsp.
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 1 tomato diced
- 7 oz. refrigerated pesto or use 3/4 cup homemade pesto--see recipe below
- Cook the noodles according to the package directions until they are al dente and drain them.
- When the noodles go in the water, heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes (optional) and sauté them until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and sauté them for about 2 minutes until they soften but don't get too mushy. Remove the pan from the heat.
- In a large metal bowl or in the pot you used to cook them, toss the noodles with the pesto sauce and the onion and tomato mixture and serve it immediately. (Alternatively, refrigerate it for up to 1 day and serve it warm or at room temperature.)
Homemade Pesto Directions
- To make fresh pesto, in a blender or food processor, combine 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, 4 cloves chopped or minced garlic, 1/2 cup pine nuts, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Blend until nearly smooth
Do Ahead or Delegate: Cook the pasta and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking, dice the onion and the tomato, peel the garlic, make the homemade pesto, if using, and refrigerate, or fully prepare and refrigerate the dish. Scramble Flavor Booster: Add 6 – 9 oz. baby spinach to the boiling pasta for the last minute of cooking. Use the optional red pepper flakes and add a handful of fresh basil to the finished dish. Tip: To freeze leftover pesto, spoon it into ice cube trays and, after it freezes, remove from the tray and store in a resealable bag in the freezer. You can take them out as needed and add them to pasta recipes for a flavor boost. Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 340, Total Fat: 5g, 8%; Saturated Fat: 1g, 5%; Cholesterol: 0mg, 0%; Sodium: 190mg, 8%; Total Carbohydrate: 61g, 20%; Dietary Fiber: 2g, 8%; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 10g Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
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