Let’s talk less about the pasta and more about the pesto – after all that’s what makes this red pesto pasta special 🙂
Pesto has as interestingly long history – in various guises it can trace its roots back to the Ancient Roman age. The word pesto comes from the original Genoese pestâ, and it means to pound or crush. Technically speaking, anything can be called pesto if it’s ground or crushed, but pesto as we know it is certainly the tastiest. It was traditionally made in a mortar and pestle – hence the name (1).
Modern day pesto is believed to have come from an ancient Roman dish called moretum – a healthy mix of garlic, nuts, cheese, salt and oil. It was also made in a mortar and pestle (2).
Basil only became a well-documented ingredient in as recently as the latter half of the 1800s. Since then countless variations have been with different varieties of nuts, garlic, oil and often but not always cheese. Pesto Rosso, or red pesto, which is what this pasta meal is based on, is relatively new and the primary ingredient is tomato.
Back to the red pesto pasta…
So why are we telling you all this? Well basically, if it’s been enjoyed for a couple of thousand years then it can’t be bad, right? 😉
In a nod to our experimental pesto-loving ancestors, we’ve created this simple yet delish red pesto pasta dish – we’ve added a handful of rocket for the nutritional benefits (hint: rocket rocks!), and we couldn’t resist throwing in a few cherry tomatoes for that juicy, sweet crunch at the end.
- A handful of sunflower/pine seeds (or use whatever you have around)
- 200g of your favourite pasta (wholewheat is best of course)
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 3-4 tbsp of red pesto (you can buy some, but even more fun/tastier/healthier you can also make your own)
- a handful of spinach/rocket leaves (about 50g)
- A good handful of cherry tomatoes
- Boil that pasta o’yours.
- Dice the onion and fry it with a tbsp of olive oil in a pan on medium heat.
- While that’s cooking put the seeds in a frying pan and fry without oil. They’ll only take a minute or two so don’t let them burn!
- Drain the cooked pasta then add it into the pan, mix in red pesto, spinach/rocket and a good handful of diced cherry tomatoes.
- Add a few splashes of water if you want it a bit creamier.
- Depending on what you want add rennet-free cheddar cheese for taste, or leave it out for a vegan version.
- For serving add a couple more cherry tomatoes as a garnish, and sprinkle over the sunflower seeds.
- Enjoy 🙂
IF YOU LIKED THIS RECIPE: then check out this lovely green pesto, or try this creamy avocado pasta for an amazing pesto alternative!