Sunday, September 12, 2010

Spaghetti with Pesto and Tomato-Mozzarella Salad

I wish I could take credit for this one!  Its from Good Housekeeping, recently featured on  The colors are so beautiful and the instructions for fresh pesto are so simple - I just had to add it to my blog for people to try it.  I plan to get creative with the topping variations - maybe some summer squash, zucchini and shrimp or grilled chicken, halved grapes, and pine nuts.  Yum!

1 pound thin spaghetti or linguine
1 bunch fresh basil
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 pint red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
1 TBS red wine vinegar
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

Heat large saucepot of salted water to boiling over high heat. Add spaghetti and cook as label directs.

Meanwhile, reserve 12 small basil leaves for garnish. From remaining basil, remove enough leaves to equal 2 cups firmly packed. In food processor with knife blade attached, process basil leaves, garlic, 1/4 cup oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt until pureed, stopping processor and scraping bowl occasionally. Add Parmesan; pulse to combine. Set pesto aside.

In bowl, mix tomatoes, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gently stir in mozzarella.

Drain spaghetti, reserving 1/2 cup spaghetti cooking water. Return spaghetti and reserved cooking water to saucepot; add pesto and toss well to coat pasta. Spoon spaghetti mixture into large shallow bowl; top with tomato-mozzarella salad. Garnish with reserved basil leaves.

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