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What's for Dinner? | QUICK FIX

Mellow Pesto: Who Needs Basil?

April 14, 1999|MAYI BRADY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

When you say pesto, most people think of basil, Parmesan and pine nuts. But the variations are almost endless. Almost any tender flat-leafed herb such as parsley, cilantro or chervil can be used.

Since I find many pestos a little overpowering, I like to add tomatoes to smooth things out a bit; roasting the tomatoes gives even more depth of flavor.

Serve the pesto over pasta with a green salad and Italian bread sticks. A tart sorbet makes a nice finish.

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Parsley and Olive Pesto With Roasted Tomatoes and Pasta

Green Salad With Vinaigrette

Italian Bread Sticks

Lemon Sorbet

Parsley and Olive Pesto With Roasted Tomatoes and Pasta

Active Work Time: 15 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes

6 ounces long pasta, such as linguine, fettuccine or spaghetti

Salt

3 large plum tomatoes

3 cloves garlic

3/4 cup parsley leaves

1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives

2 tablespoons drained capers

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

* Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.

* While pasta water is heating, broil tomatoes in small roasting pan about 4 inches from heat source, turning 2 or 3 times during cooking, until charred, about 12 minutes.

* Process garlic, parsley, cheese, olives, capers, lemon juice, pine nuts and pepper to taste in food processor until completely combined, 30 to 45 seconds. Add olive oil in thin stream with motor running. If mixture looks too dry, add reserved cooking water little at a time and pulse with food processor to mix until desired consistency.

* Chop tomatoes. Toss pasta, pesto and tomatoes and serve.

2 servings. Each serving: 824 calories; 590 mg sodium; 13 mg cholesterol; 51 grams fat; 74 grams carbohydrates; 23 grams protein; 1.29 grams fiber.

INGREDIENTS

Pantry

Linguine, fettuccine or spaghetti

Capers

Garlic

Lemon

Kalamata olives

Olive oil

Pepper

Pine nuts

Salt

White wine vinegar

Shopping List

1 (4-ounce) package Italian bread sticks

1/4 pound Pecorino Romano cheese

1 (5-ounce) bag mixed greens

1 bunch parsley

3 large plum tomatoes

1 pint lemon sorbet

GAME PLAN

25 minutes before: Bring water to boil for pasta. Begin heating broiler.

20 minutes before: Begin roasting tomatoes. Make pesto.

15 minutes before: Add pasta to water. Turn tomatoes.

10 minutes before: Turn tomatoes. Toss salad.

5 minutes before: Chop tomatoes.

Just before serving: Toss pasta with pesto and tomatoes.

*

Stonefish pottery plate from Freehand, Los Angeles.

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