I know I have been posting kind of a lot of recipes lately and I have an explanation (other than the fact that I just feel like it). I've been trying to be better about planning meals and trying new things to come up with new family favorites for dinner time. But that tends to lead me to Pinterest where I get sucked in by photos of beautiful looking dishes. Which I pin, then promptly forget about and we end up doing the same ol' rotation of standby dinners. And every now and then I will think, "oh, what was that yummy dinner I made who-even-knows-how-long-ago? What was that? I think it had pasta in it?" and I feel dumb because somehow my tastebuds are craving a particular meal that I remember having made or had and I can't even think exactly what it was that I cooked let alone find the recipe for it.
So the other day I went through my recipe board on Pinterest and printed off every recipe that had a working link (I hate when I pin something and the link is corrupt or the original site has been removed, especially when it is something I have actually made and want to make again and the recipe is gone, which has happened to me on multiple occasions - another reason for actually putting recipes on here where I can keep them). There are so many of them! And it was such a chore going through all my pins - like I was cleaning out a junk drawer or something.
And now I am going to try to work through all these "pinned" recipes and figure out which ones are keepers and which ones are not good enough for me to want to make again, and while I am at it, if something is especially good and I don't want to lose the recipe, I might just add it here on the bliggity-blog. Because I don't know about you, but I often find myself wishing people would cook for me or at least tell me what I should make because the hardest part is often coming up with an idea for dinner time rather than actually making it.
I am always on the lookout for good vegetarian dishes. Not that we are vegetarians, but I like to try to do a meatless meal at least once or twice a week. This is a perfect summery pasta dish and is a great option for meatless nights. But in smaller portions this could also be served as a side dish or you could add chicken to it as well (we had one piece of leftover fried chicken from the night before that we split three ways to go with this dish).
The tomatoes are so flavorful and the pesto isn’t overpowering. It comes together really quickly too. I'm sure you could use other pasta than orecchiette, but those little caps are probably my favorite pasta shape. I always get the orecchiette at Trader Joe's, in case you have a hard time finding it at a regular grocery store.
The recipe is simple and it came together really fast. And it was so, so, so delicious. Both Paul and I felt transported right back to Italy as we were eating it, which is always a good sign that a dish is a keeper. Clara loved the pine nuts and pasta, although after eating one of the tomatoes she made a face and said "ewww!" in a teeny voice with screwed up eyes.
Orecchiette with Cherry Tomatoes, Mozzarella & Basil Pesto
1/2 lb. orecchiette pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved (or more, if you want)
2 Tbsp basil pesto
1/2 lb. ciliegene mozzarella (small fresh balls of mozzarella that come in water), drained
Handful of fresh basil, coarsely chopped (do not substitute dried basil)
Shaving of Parmigiano Reggiano (optional)
Fresh cracked black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a little salt. Add pasta and cook till al dente, about 9-10 minutes (even if package says 11-12 minutes you don’t want to overcook the pasta and it will cook more as it is tossed with the other ingredients so it is best to undercook it a bit.) Drain pasta, but do not rinse.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add pine nuts and stir for 30 seconds. Add cherry tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds. Add pasta and pesto and cook an additional minute, stirring to coat pasta with the pesto. Add the mozzarella and stir to incorporate. Add the fresh basil and remove from the heat.
Divide pasta among bowls and sprinkle each with some fresh shavings of Parmigiano. Crack the pepper over top and serve. Makes 3-4 servings.