Back when I barely knew my way around a kitchen, my favorite word when discovering new recipes was “easy.” And my second favorite word was “quick.” I’d read magazines and watch cooking shows, hunting for dishes I knew even I, the novice of novices, could make. Usually, it was the number of ingredients (more than a dozen and I’ll pass) or estimated prep & cooking time (except when I make bread; I know it’s going to take several hours) that would cause me to keep looking. But when I hit the daily-double with a recipe that was both quick and easy, I just had to make it. Penne with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto is one of those recipes. And it’s my answer to anyone that says they don’t have time to cook a nice dinner (Yes, you do!).
Several years ago I saw Giada De Laurentiis make this on her television show Everyday Italian. When she finished I said to myself, “Even I could make that!” I did. And I have, many times. It is so delicious and it’s one of the few recipes I’ve never been tempted to tweak. It’s perfect just the way it is. Try it. Whether you’re entertaining friends, trying to impress that special someone, or just want an “oo-la-la” night at home, this quick and easy dish will have everyone wondering where you went to culinary school!
Penne with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
from Giada De Laurentiis, Everyday Italian
12 oz. penne pasta
8.5-ounce jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup (packed) of fresh basil leaves
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cook the penne according to directions on the package. When you drain, reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
While the penne is cooking, blend the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, salt & pepper in a food processor until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl and stir in the Parmesan.
Add the penne to the pesto and toss, adding enough of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Isn’t that quick and easy? And it hits the sight, smell, and taste senses. I like to serve it with slices of toasted Italian garlic bread and sometimes a side veggie, like sautéed zucchini.
It’s a winner in my house. I know it will be in yours, too. Enjoy!