We are huge lovers of pesto in this household. Each year I make Organic Garlic Scape Pesto which we freeze to have throughout the year. This is the first time I have made Tomato Pesto and Oh My Goodness, do we ever love it.
As mentioned in previous posts, every year, we buy our local organic produce and eggs at our Farmer's Market (just down the street from where we live) which runs from May through to October. This year I signed up for their fall/winter program whereby I was able to go to the farm (8 minutes away) to buy winter vegetables, eggs, and these lovely dried tomatoes. The farm is called Alm Organic Farm - founded by Mary Alice Johnson.
As I have never made tomato pesto before I used Mary Alice's recipe as a guideline as well as my own Garlic Scape Pesto recipe - to create this heavenly tomato pesto. (pasta recipe to follow) Alm Farm tomatoes are the best I have ever had. (we were able to buy tomatoes in November!) They are super flavorful, and amazingly sweet as was this pesto recipe. Dinner tonight felt like a fresh breath of summer even though we are in the height of winter.
So, here is my recipe for Tomato Pesto - thank you Mary Alice & Marika for your inspiration and for your beautiful organic farm grown vegetables!
1 1/4 cups dried tomatoes - soak in boiling water, just to cover for 20 minutes (reserve drained water)
3 minced garlic cloves
1/3 cup Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
28 gram package of fresh Basil or 3/4 cup chopped Basil
3 Tblsp. reserved water from the tomatoes
a generous 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
fresh cracked pepper
Add the dried tomatoes to a 4 cup glass measuring cup. Add boiling water just to cover. Let sit for 20 minutes, then drain, reserving the liquid.
Lightly toast the sliced almonds in a dry cast iron pan on low/medium heat - about 8 minutes stirring so they do not over roast. Then place into a food processor and process until fine.
Drain the water from the tomatoes, reserving the liquid. Add the tomatoes to the food processor with the minced garlic and blend, scraping down the sides. Add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Parmesan Cheese, Basil, and fresh cracked pepper. Blend again then scrap down the sides. Add the 3 Tblsp. reserved tomato water and continue to blend scraping down the sides. If too thick, add a bit more of the reserved water. Once combined set aside for the pasta, or refrigerate to use in another dish. Pizza would be amazing.
TOMATO PESTO PASTA WITH ROASTED GARLIC GOAT CHEESE CHEVRAI:
1 340 gram package of Gluten Free Fusilli Pasta
1 large shallot, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 Tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 crimini mushrooms, chopped small
Tomato Pesto recipe from above
salt and fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup of fresh chopped Basil
113 gram package of Roasted Garlic Goat Chevrai
3-4 Tblsp. reserved tomato water
freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook pasta as per directions.
Meanwhile, heat up a medium/large dutch oven on low medium heat with the 1 Tblsp. EVOO. Add in the shallots, garlic, mushrooms, salt and pepper - saute about 5 minutes. Add in the the reserved tomato water a Tblsp. at a time. The mushrooms shallot mixture will absorb most of the water. When the pasta is cooked, drain well, and add to the mushroom shallot mixture. Turn the heat down to a low minimum. Add in the tomato pesto and 1/2 cup of fresh chopped basil, mixing well. If needed add in 2 or 3 more Tblsp. of the reserved tomato water. Break up the Chevrai with your hands, sprinkling throughout the pasta stirring to combine and lightly melt. Plate and add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top - serve while hot. Enjoy!