Wanna go to Tuscany this summer?
Yeah, me neither! I mean, who likes delicious food, cypress-lined rolling hills, tiny picturesque towns and the beautiful Mediterranean anyways?!
But all bitterness aside: Here is an upgraded version of a classic northern Italian dish that the whole family can enjoy and that takes minimal time to make. This healthy yet comforting plant-based recipe combines aromatic basil pesto with the contrasting flavor of sweet and juicy oven roasted grape tomatoes. Sprinkle in some creamy goat cheese and presto! – summer in Italy in the comfort of your own home.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1 pack farfalle (organic whole grain or gluten free)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup raw pine nuts
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 2-3 cloves or garlic, minced
- Juice and zest from 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded (optional)
- 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled (optional)
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Cook the farfalle according to the instructions on the package. Set aside.
- In a single layer, place the grape tomatoes in a 9 x 13″ glass baking dish. Coat them with one tablespoon olive oil, season with pepper and salt and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes (stirring halfway through) until they start to shrivel.
- In the meantime, put the pine nuts and garlic in a large food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
- Add the basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Keep processing while adding as much olive oil as needed for the pesto to reach a smooth and creamy consistency, about 1/4 cup.
- In a large bowl, toss the farfalle in the pesto until evenly coated. Add the grape tomatoes, top with a little bit of goat cheese and serve immediately.
- Basil – derived from the Greek word basileus meaning king – is rich in vitamins A, K, and C, as well as magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium. Similar to other aromatic plants, basil contains a variety of phytochemicals and essential oils that have potent antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. In addition, it is said to have potential for use in treating cancer.
- Pesto does not like air! Make sure you store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge, preferably with a thin layer of olive oil on top to prevent oxidization.
- It tastes great the next day on top of a warm slice of crusty Ciabatta bread. Also, wine…obvi!