Tomato, Fennel with Walnut Pesto Rigatoni is my contribution to Marta from "An Italian in US" blog's event called "Fresh produce of the month". She selects a produce every month to get creative with it and this month it is "Tomato!". What a great produce to select for this year's HOT Summer,atleast here in the South! Thanks for hosting Marta!:)
Well.. as I said, it is HOT here in NC and you know what that means.Gallons of Tomatoes and other produce thriving in the Sun if you are lucky enough to have a garden patch in your backyard. Boy, do I have it?! I am getting so many Tomatoes,I am running out of ideas what to cook with them! :D
Homegrown Cherry and Pear Tomatoes:
Just after I gave a big bag of Cherry tomatoes to my neighbor, I remembered this Tomato event and thought I would use my rest of Tomatoes to make this pasta dish.I am using Cherry and Pear Tomatoes along with fragrant Fennel bulbs with Basil Walnut pesto to add to cooked Rigatoni pasta. Sounds good or what? Enjoy:))
Basil Walnut Pesto Pasta flavored with Fennel bulbs and Tomatoes:
You can use just Basil Pine nuts Pesto which has a gorgeous green color,adding Walnuts makes it a healthier with a nutty taste and gives a brownish green color.Your choice!:)
1 cup peeled and thinly sliced Fennel Bulb,mostly white part and some green leaves too, 8-10 Cherry and Pear Tomatoes (you can use any tomatoes you have at hand),1 tsp any spice seasoning mix like Steak spices etc which has dried onion,garlic,herbs etc, 2-3 tbsp Basil pine nuts and Walnut Pesto, homemade (recipe below) or store bought, salt, pepper or chilli flakes, and finally 1 cup dry Rigatoni or any pasta cooked until Al Dente(to the bite) and keep it aside mixed with little butter to keep them separate ready to add to the Fennel stir-fry.
How to make it:
Heat a pan, add 1 tsp of butter. Put in a chilli flakes,all the the slices if Fennel bulb and greens,stir fry for 2-3 mins or until they get a slightly golden color on the edges.Add in Tomatoes,salt and stir fry again for a minute. You don't have cook the Tomatoes to a mush but roast until skin is shiny and slightly wilted but they should remain whole.
Sprinkle spice seasoning,mix.Take out to a big glass bowl.Add cooked warm Pasta and add a tbsp or two of Pesto and mix well.Taste and adjust the seasonings. If you find Pasta is little dry,add 1 tbsp hot water(I save some water in which Pasta is cooked before draining the pasta). And there is your yummy Dinner! Serve with Bread sticks and Garlic Bread have a wonderful meal!:)
My Cherry and Pear Tomatoes harvest this year:
To make Pesto at home: Pulse 2 cups fresh basil leaves,1/4 cup each grated Parmesan,3 peeled garlic cloves,1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts or both mixed equally, slightly roasted,Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste in a blender until coarse mix.Then start pouring 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil thru' the top spout with the blender on low until you get a paste.Take it out to a glass jar and store in the fridge.
(Latha N, I made something for your event too, coming up on Wednesday here.Didn't have the time to type in although I have the photo!)