Friday, March 16, 2012

Lemon Pesto Pasta

Last Sunday morning, I woke up completely having forgotten about the time change. I had a baby shower to attend and still had to make a pasta dish for the gathering. It wasn't until I got to the farmer's market that I realized I'd lost an hour and was now running way behind schedule. I sprinted through the market, grabbing herbs, lemons and fresh vegetables. I got home with only half an hour to prepare the dish, so I set my kitchen timer and got to it. If Rachel Ray can whip up a meal in "30 minutes or less," so can I!

Pot of water for pasta. Check.  Sauté pan for peppers. Check. 
Food processor for pesto. Check. 

  • Main Ingredients:
  • 1 (16 oz.) package rotini
  • 2 medium red bell peppers, cored and sliced
    2 medium orange bell peppers, cored and sliced
    small bunch asparagus spears (I used the spears/top halves for this dish, saving the rest for a soup later)
    1/3 package extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
    olive oil 
    pinch of salt

In large pot, bring water to boil. Blanch* the asparagus, saving the water for the pasta. After removing the asparagus, add the rotini to the water and allow to boil for 7-9 minutes, until cooked al dente. In the meantime, heat olive oil in saute pan. Add sliced bell peppers and pinch of salt, cook over medium to high heat for several minutes, stirring so they don't burn. Turn heat off and allow to cool. Once rotini is done, drain in colander and run cold water through it. Transfer to serving bowl. 

*To blanch, prepare a bowl of ice water. Place asparagus in boiling water for 3-5 minutes (depending on width of stems), or until they turn a bright green. Remove from water and transfer to ice water. This method of "shocking" it in cold water allows for your asparagus to retain its texture without getting mushy.

No time to roast peppers? Saute them in olive oil on medium to high heat instead.
It's not quite the same, but will do when you're short on time!

Lemon Pesto:
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • juice of one small lemon
  • 1 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 2 cups fresh parsley leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • [I didn't have any pine nuts or parmesan on hand, but if you don't have any allergies, I would add those as well.]

  • Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until it reaches a smooth consistency. Start off with one cup of olive oil and add more as needed. Add pesto into rotini and mix well. Fold in sautéed peppers, asparagus and cubed tofu into the pasta, and voila.


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