August 27, 2007

TOMATO, FENNEL BULB, BASIL-WALNUT PESTO PASTA


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!:)

You need:

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.
Have fun!!:)

(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!)

45 comments:

Anh said...

Asha, what a perfect meal! I love pasta cooked this way!

Rajitha said...

wow! love that harvest...i thik fennel adn tomatoes are a great combo.. the pics look lovely

Asha said...

We had on Saturday, it was great. Pesto and Tomato goes well together:)

Rajitha,I cooked with Fennel bulb for the first time, I LOVED the taste.Such subtle flavor and tastes great caramelized a bit:))

Richa said...

love the pics of ur produce :) u shud put them up with every posting, it is so gooooooood to look at :)

pasta looks good, nice variation to the usual!

Arts said...

Evrytime i see ur tomato harvest, I love it even more! Maybe coz I love tomatoes :)
I have nver tasted fennel in my entire life.. :D Kinda reminds me of the Indian leafy vegetable (we call it shepu in Marathi) with a stupid taste which keeps lingering for hours.. Dunno if they are same.. Any replacements??

Latha Narasimhan said...

Wow! I love those tomatoes! You are lucky to have space for gardening!
Pasta is great! I'll make this coming weekend! Can you please courier those tomatoes? :))

Laavanya said...

A perfect summery pasta with such beautiful, home-grown tomatoes.

TBC said...

Lovely pasta dish! Those tomatoes look so good and you are so lucky to be able grow your own stuff.

Asha said...

Richa, we pulled and cleaned up the Gourd plant yesterday! Summer is almost for us now.I will make one big post at FH with all the photos of veggies for GBP and then it's over for this year!:)

Arts, it doesn't smell or leave a after taste.Bulb has very subtle flavor than the fennel/Anise seeds, try once.You could add Broccoli,Cauliflower instead, slightly roasted, will be good too:)

Asha said...

Hahaha!! Latha, wish I could! I gave my neighbor a bagful,her kids ate them all like snacks! Tomato plants are only one left to clean up now, Summer is ending in few weeks!
Enjoy the pasta.

Thank you Laavanya.Nothing tastes better than fresh Tomatoes.I didn't want cook them too much in the Pasta!:))

Padma said...

Wow Asha, wish I was your neighbor then I could have tasted those lovely looking tomatoes...Loved your pesto pasta ..

Sig said...

Asha, You are always showing off the loot... :) ... I love Fennel, its always a nice touch to dishes, this pasta sounds so yummy, with all my fav ingredients.... :)

Kelly Mahoney said...

That's a combination I never would have thought of. I don't work with fennel often, but that looks like quite a dish.

Tee said...

Perfect recipe for the weekend! I love fennel bulbs...never tried them in pasta, although I have been thinking of doing it since a long time ;) must be tasting delightful!

Saju said...

Lovely meal, all home grown too. I love fennel bulb too, sometime I have it just grated in fennel, or roasted with other vegetabes.

bee said...

i adore fennel and this is agreat way to use it.

Asha said...

TBC, everything is coming to an end,we cleaned up quite a bit last weekend.Oh well..there is always next year!:)

I know Padma! I would have given bowlful of Pear tomatoes too.I got a whole bunch yesterday!:)

Asha said...

Sig, unfortunately except tomatoes,everything else seems to dying.So I enjoy while I can!Dreading the store bought veggies!:D
Fennel bulb is so flavorful,enjoyed the crunch and the taste:)

Kelly, slightly roasted Fennel bulb tastes so delicious with Pesto! Hope you try.Tomatoes of course, I am throwing some in everything!;D

Asha said...

Tee, Fennel bulb tastes great in Risotto too.I tried it!:)
Pasta was yum,make it this weekend.

Thank you Saju. I thought it would have a strong smell of Anise but it was very light and refreshing.Grated Fennel,I have to try,sounds great:)

Bee, roasted Fennel bulb is so tasty! I just made a Indian dish with it too!:D

Jyothi said...

Ashaji! beautiful pics as usual. pasta with tomato and fennels are great combo. Never tried. I will try this very soon. Thanks for sharing.

Madhu said...

Hi Asha,
Those cherry tomaotes are gorgeous.. great combination of tomato and fennel and pesto with walnut must taste delicious.

Manasi said...

Wow!! Looks very very nicE!!! Fennel.. as in apna fennel? as in saunf wala fennel taste?

Asha said...

You are welcome Jyoti.Fennel has light flavor,try once:))

It was delicious Madhu!:)
Pesto with little more garlic tastes so good in Pasta,I love it.You can add any veggies you like for this as well!:)

Manasi, I think it is the Fennel(Saunfwala)plant with bottom part like root intact.It does smell like Saunf (very subtle though), not as strong as seeds.It is tasty roasted, buy a small one and try.Some people don't like the Saunf taste,I love it!:))

sra said...

Asha, that first tomato is so interestingly-shaped, never seen it!

Pavani said...

That looks delicious. I have a fennel bulb waiting to be cooked, may be I can make this recipe. Will let you know how it turned out. Thanks for the recipe Asha.

Asha said...

sra, not only they are small,bright yellow and Pear shaped, it's also very sweet! You can't even get those to buy here at the grocery store.I got lucky to find a plant, just one plant gave me tons of fruits!:)
Hope I will find this plant again next year too,Summer is almost over now.

Pavani,thanks. Pasta was delicious with light flavor of Fennel.Hope you try! Enjoy:))

Roopa(KitchenAromas) said...

I love the liquorice taste of fennel with pasta! And I love your harvest!

Jyothsna said...

I want to say yum .... but my tummy is stuffed with the onam sadya spread and can't think of food at all now :D Tomatoes look great. I'd rather eat them up as such, they look so crunchy!

Bla said...

Delicious post! :)

Asha said...

Roopa, that's exactly how it tastes, you got it right!:)
But I know some here who hates the Fennel taste! I love the smell, sometimes I add it too Indian dishes too.

LOL! J, I understand. Don't say anything and don't look at food blogs now for a while!:D
Glad you had a great Sadya.I made a Kerala dish too for us,a simple but my favorite today.
Go to sleep now, need few hrs to digest all that!:))

Thank you Bla, glad you liked it!:)

Neelam said...

What a colourful meal! Perfect for a weekend! I have never tried fennel bulb, got to try it!

Asha said...

Neelam, buy a small bulb and see how you like it.If you like Fennel seeds in cooking ,you will love this. Enjoy:)

Suganya said...

I got 2 tomatoes from mine this year. Fuss-budget, it is!

TheCooker said...

I've never used fennel. Though I know it mellows considerably after it is cooked, have always avoided it.
Do blog about the Indian dish you made with fennel.

Sharmi said...

Asha, I am always amazed at your addressing all the events. you have so much energy and patience. I learn a lot from you.

Vcuisine said...

Lovely dish home grown tomatoes Asha. The plants are worth wating everytime. Enjoy. Viji

Asha said...

Suganya, just two!! I always find Tomatoes are the easiest to grow of all plants,low maintainence.I guess it depends on the soil too,good luck next year.Summer is almost over.We cleaned up all plants except Tomato last weekend!:)

Hello The cooker, I do have many dishes made with Fennel seeds but not with Fennel bulb.I made one yesterday,will post sometimes.You can add to Pulao too, will be fragrant and tasty.Try it!:)
Hope you checked the RCI Karnataka event details at Foodie's Hope!:)

Asha said...

Thank you Sharmi!:)
There are so many event organized by our blogger friends,it's hard not to contribute but I do enjoy cooking.I try my best to cook something for everybody!!:D

It's true Viji! They become part of your life whole Summer and it's a joy to see the grow and fruit. But it seems that except Tomatoes now,everything else has done their turn this year!:))

Raaga said...

I didn't expect this from you... just because you had so many tomatoes, you bribed the event organizer to have tomatoes as the produce of the month.

Asha said...

LOL!! Raaga, I did not plan this event or bribe, honest!;D
I don't know in what other dishes I can throw my Tomatoes in! There are too many. Enjoy. Appeys were fabulous!:)

chemcookit said...

Asha, thanks a lot for this and sorry I didn't get your email earlier!! It's a wonderful entry, the pasta looks absolutely great, and I'm amazed about the beauty of your tomatoes!
Thanks a lot for taking part to the event. :)

Asha said...

Hi Marta, I thought you might not have received it, so I left a comment today! Thanks, it was a joy to grow them every Summer. We are still enjoying them. Thanks for choosing Tomato for this month too:)

Mishmash ! said...

Hey...I tried ur pesto...but without walnut....and we both liked it esply my hubby :) Thanks a lot...just one doubt..,can I freeze this even if the cheese is there ? and if I am refrigerating, How long I can keep it?

Shn

Asha said...

Hi shn,glad you liked it.Walnuts are always optional.
You can freeze the Pesto,I freeze block of cheese too and in the fridge,the whole dish lasts about maximum 2 days.
Pesto by itself lasts for a week in the fridge if you have added good amount of Olive oil.Enjoy:))

SeeC said...

Lovely Garden grown. I am really inspired to have one.

Pasta looks neat and tempting.