Meatless Monday: Pesto Pasta with Mozzarella & Tomatoes

Monday, June 25, 2012
It's tough to get motivated to cook when the temperatures soar. This recipe requires little more than chopping some fresh ingredients and boiling water to cook pasta. Easy peasy and so delicious. Whip up a batch for dinner this week, serve on the side of grilled meats, or take it to a bar-b-que. Either way, it's a hit!

Fresh Pesto with Pasta

1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
8 ounces fresh bocconcini (bite-sized mozzarella cheese balls)
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound pasta, preferably campanelle, cellentani or rotini

For the pesto:
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil


1. Combine tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Let stand about 30 minutes to allow the flavors to marinate.

2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

3. To prepare pesto: mince garlic in a food processor. Add pine nuts, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and process until smooth. Add Parmesan cheese and process until smooth. 

4. With the food processor running, add 1 cup olive oil and process until smooth.

5. Toss tomato mixture with pasta and 3/4 cup of basil pesto. Combine well. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

*Leftover pesto can be refrigerated up to one week or frozen up to 3 months.

Note: I grow my own basil during the summer months. It's much more cost effective than buying it at the grocery store where it can cost up to $4 per bunch. It's super easy to grow and to maintain and has a million uses.

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