Jan 27, 2010

Tuscan Roasted Tomato Pesto Pasta

from Heidi V.

3 cups of packed basil leaves (washed and stems removed)
2/3 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil - enough to allow it to blend freely, but not be soupy
Place all of these ingredients in a food processor and drizzle a generous amount of oil on top. Pulse several times until it is coarsely chopped, adding more oil as necessary. Pulse a few more times until it is finely chopped. Scoop into containers to freeze or refrigerate, covering with a very thin layer of oil to preserve the fresh green color, or use immediately.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
Slice 1 dozen roma tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seedy pulp, leaving the core intact. Drizzle lightly in olive oil and toss to coat, then face them cut side up on a baking sheet. Sprinkle kosher salt, a few grinds of pepper and 1 T. raw sugar evenly over the top.
Bake for 2 1/2 - 3 hours, or until the bottoms are beginning to brown, the tops are soft and shriveled.

1/2 pound penne pasta, cooked to al dente
2 chicken breasts
kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder
3 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. honey
3 strips bacon, fried until crisp and crumbled (optional)
12 roasted roma tomatoes (24 halves), sliced into wide strips
1/2 cup fresh pesto (store bought or homemade)
1/4 parmesan cheese
fresh basil leaves for garnish

Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Butterfly the chicken breasts and sprinkle the salt, pepper and garlic on the cut sides. Grill on each side for about 8 minutes until cooked through, basting with a mixture of vinegar and honey. Set aside to let the juices rest for a few minutes, then slice into thin strips.
Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the pesto and toss until the pasta is evenly coated. Add the tomatoes, crumbled bacon and chicken, and carefully toss again until evenly distributed. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top, add basil leaves for garnish and serve immediately.