Red Pesto Papardelle

26 Jul

I don’t crave pasta often, but when I do I need it now! I’ve had this recipe in the back of my mind for a few weeks ever since I spotted it on 101 Cookbooks.  I wasn’t sure If I would ever make it, but it looked beautiful and sounded tasty, so when the pasta craving struck me last week, I knew what I had to do!

Red Pesto Papardelle

-adapted from 101 Cookbooks

  • 1 lb. papardelle pasta (long, wide egg noodles)
  • 12 plump, chewy sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not packed in oil)
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • freshly grated Asiago cheese, to serve
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Slice cherry tomatoes in half, lengthwise.  Pour them onto a sheet pan, and coat with a couple glugs of olive oil and a sprinkling of kosher salt. Roast them for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until shriveled.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While water is heating, make the pesto by pulsing sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, thyme, and salt in a food processor until crumbly. If your tomatoes are on the drier side, this step will take a lot more pulses than if they are plump and chewy. You may want to rehydrate your tomatoes briefly in hot water (~10 mins) until they soften slightly.
  3. Add the walnuts and pulse a few more times. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
  4. Now that water is boiling, salt generously and add pasta.  Cook according to package directions. Drain, reserving one cup of the hot pasta water (VERY IMPORTANT!).
  5. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the pesto, stirring to thin. Add the pasta and toss to combine. From here, determine how much more water to add, up to the full cup, depending on the consistency you prefer for your sauce. I added nearly the full cup to suit my tastes. Add the oven-roasted cherry tomatoes and toss a final time. Shave some Asiago cheese over top and serve immediately.  Serves 3 generously.
The pesto ingredients
Combine the ingredients in the food processor. I cut back on the amount of oil from the original recipe, and next time I will probably use 3 Tbsp. instead of 1/4 cup.
You are looking for this texture once the pesto has been pulsed:
I served it with toasted whole wheat pain pascal rubbed with garlic.
I couldn’t get over how wonderful this was! The sauce is so flavor and has great texture!  This is better than most pastas I have had from little trattorias (both here and in Italy)!
Heidi at 101 Cookbooks says the addition of the roasted cherry tomatoes is optional, but I felt it was such a great addition. It gave the dish more dimension, color, texture, and flavor. If you do decide to make this, please don’t leave them out!
Leftovers the next day were particularly delicious.  😉  I wish I had some now…
See you soon,
-Lou
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