Sunday, August 5, 2012

Quinoa Pesto Trapanese

I decided to have some friends over on Saturday night to watch the Olympics and flex my somewhat underutilized entertaining muscles.  Entertaining is one of my greatest pleasures.  I love bringing people together in the hope that they'll become new friends.  To be perfectly honest, I also love all the "oohs, aahs, and yums!"

So, on Saturday morning, I hit the farmers market to get my favorite seasonal goodies:  peaches, blackberries, basil, and tomatoes.  Once I had an idea of what I wanted to make, I hit the grocery store for quinoa pasta, cream, eggs, and cheese. 

Inspired by another recipe from Smitten Kitchen, which was in turn inspired by a recipe from Gourmet, I made some fancy sounding pasta, which - given the response from my guests - was super impressive.
Pesto Trapanese (Pesto with Tomato-Almond Pesto)

1 lb quinoa spaghetti
6 plum tomatoes, quartered
2 cloves garlic
handful of basil
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of pecorino romano, grated
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2/3 cup of almonds, pulsed in the food processor until the shape of grated cheese

Pulse the basil, salt and garlic in the fridge.  Add the tomatoes, cheese, olive oil, and almonds.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Before draining the pasta, scoop a cup of the starchy water out and reserve.  Drain the pasta, add the sauce and the pasta water and toss.  Serve with some crusty bread, and top with more pecorino.

If you want to make it vegan, omit the pecorino and put in a little bit nutritional yeast and a squeeze of lemon juice instead.  If you want to make it raw, use zucchinni "noodles."  It will be delicious regardless. I promise.  

I'll post later about the homemade ice cream and peach-blackberry crisp.