When Steve and I were teenagers, we loved the Olive Garden something fierce. Every special occasion, we celebrated together over all you can eat breadsticks and salad.
Got an A- on your Of Mice and Men report? Lets go to the Olive Garden.
Two week anniversary? Lets go to the Olive Garden.
Ninth month Anniversary? Lets go to the Olive Garden.
Got your license? Olive Garden.
This continued on until we were in our early 20's, and up until then, we had no idea what decent Italian food was. Around this time, I became OBSESSED with Giada. Though I despised her pronunciation of parmigiano-reggiano, mascarpone, or mozzarella, and her big boobs were always center stage in every episode. I could not stop watching!!
Her recipes opened up my world to Italian inspired cooking. Though we don't indulge in it often, (I am an annoying carb counter) on occasion, I crave pasta. Not necessarily heavy rich dishes, but light fresh pasta dishes. And this time of year, there is nothing better than fuss free, quick cooking dinners, that are healthy and filling.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
4 oz rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes
2 large handfuls of fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly ground parmesan cheese
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (more if needed)
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of ground pepper
Add tomatoes, basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt and pepper to your food processor or blender. Blend, drizzling in the olive oil. Once it is to your desired texture, ( I like mine a bit chunky and hearty) stop blending.
Serve with your favorite pasta or grain. Top with extra pine nuts, basil, or cheese.
Pesto can be stored in an airtight container, for up to one week.