Meatless Monday Pasta Dinner with a Tomato Pesto

Here’s a Meatless Monday dinner idea we use and it’s a hit with the guys. We came across this recipe in an issue of America’s Test Kitchen’s Cook’s Country or Cooks Illustrated.

There are so many cooking magazines that land in the mailbox.

This is an Italian recipe that is a riff on pesto replacing the basil and pignolia nuts with tomato and almonds.

It’s a nice combination of flavors and the guys prefer this to a traditional pesto.

We have tinkered with different ways to make this dish and the version they like best is the one where we added a smoky flavor to every layer of ingredients.

We grill the tomatoes and get a nice char on the skins. In the winter months, we roast them in the oven.

We’re in full swing with grilling season so the tomatoes are prepped with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Roasted garlic is a must for this dish. Roasted garlic tastes nothing like the raw or slightly cooked garlic slices. The garlic softens and develops a sweetness.

When you roast the garlic the skins are left on. Slice an entire head of garlic and place on some aluminum foil.

Drizzle with a little extra-virgin-olive-oil and a sprinkle of Kosher salt. Close the head of garlic together and wrap in aluminum foil. Place the packet on the grill where there isn’t a direct flame.

Now for the almonds. They add a nutty flavor to this tomato pesto that give it an interesting almond presence in the background.

It’s good when used in a raw state but toasting the almonds and releasing their essential oils brings all the grilled, roasted, toasted notes together. Don’t walk away from these! They toast quickly.

Add some cheese to these ingredients as you would when making pesto. Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan. Grab some basil leaves and add to the mix.

We like to serve this tomato pesto with a tubular pasta like penne or ziti. It works with any type of pasta you like. Use any type of tomato you prefer too.

This tomato pesto dinner is fast and easy to pull together on a weeknight.

You need to boil pasta in the kitchen but everything else can get ready outside while you enjoy some type of beverage on a beautiful evening. This bloom came out overnight in one of the pots near the grill..

 

We are heading into the last full week of the blogathon for 2014.

As of tonight, there is officially no more homework! It’s all good as we slip into summer. Tomorrow is Tuesday!

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