Pesto is one of my quick, easy and fail-safe recipes to make whenever I don’t have much time or don’t feel like spending a long time in the kitchen. I make it with all sorts of nuts and a variety of herbs and leaves. However, until now, I had never made a tomato pesto – I sometimes find sun-dried tomatoes a little strong and overpowering of other tastes, but in a pesto, the parmesan is also strong and it mellows out the strength of the tomatoes. At least, that’s what I find.
I found this recipe on Tinned Tomatoes but it is actually taken from Gino’s Pasta: Everything You Need to Cook the Italian Way, by Gino D’Acampo. I changed very little about the recipe. I omitted the garlic cloves as the sun-dried tomatoes had garlic in them and I didn’t want the taste to be too garlicy, especially as we were going out after eating it! Even if the sun-dried tomatoes hadn’t contained garlic, I think I would have used fewer than four cloves as the pesto is not cooked and I think 4 cloves would have been too strong. I also used the oil from the jar of tomatoes instead of using olive oil as I wanted to keep the flavours that were in it.
1. If necessary take the skins off the almonds. Pour boiling water over them and leave for three minutes. Drain and then squeeze the almonds out of the skins. Toast in a dry frying pan until lightly browned.
2. Put the tomatoes, garlic (if using) and basil leaves in a food processor, leaving most of the oil in the jar.
3. Add the almonds and continue to blend until smooth. Add more oil if it is too dry.
4. Put the pesto in a container and mix in the parmesan and a little black pepper.
5. Cook the pasta and when it is ready, stir in the pesto.
6. Leftover pesto can be kept in the fridge and used over the next few days.
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