Monday, April 2, 2012

Creamy Pesto Pasta

Ever since I made this I couldn't wait to make it again, and again, and variations of it again.  I've always loved combining alfredo sauce with pesto, but alfredo sauce isn't exactly something that should be consumed all the time in massive amounts.  I wanted to recreate that creamy basily sauce in a way that I could enjoy any night of the week, guilt free.  It worked.  Now this isn't exactly traditional alfredo, but it tastes awesome and sneaks in some extra protein, fiber, and vegetables.  Bonus, the sauce can be eaten like dip too, with some pita chips or veggies!
Creamy Basil Pasta

  • 1 can chickpeas – drained and rinsed
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 T water
  • ¾ t sea salt
  • ¼ t oregano
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1 T grated parmesan/romano cheese blend
  • 15 basil leaves
  • handful spinach
  • ½ chopped onion
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 1 chopped bell pepper
  •  ½ chopped zucchini
  • 2 c broccoli florets
  • 4 c rotini pasta
  •          Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  •          Cut off the ends of the garlic cloves and place them in a small oven safe dish with 1 T olive oil
  •          Roast the garlic 15 minutes until buttery and fragrant – careful not to burn it
  •  Let the garlic cool 5-10 minutes and then squeeze the cloves out of the peel, save the oil from this
  •   In a food processor or blender – blend rinsed chickpeas about 30 seconds
  •  Add the roasted garlic with the oil, an additional 1 T olive oil and 3 T water, blend about 1    minute until smooth and creamy
  •  Add salt, oregano, parmesan, basil, and spinach – blend until you have a smooth creamy green sauce
  •      Boil 6 c of water in a large pot
  •          Add rotini, cook 12-15 minutes, until al dente
  •          Meanwhile, spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat
  •          Add chopped onion, sauté 4-5 minutes until onion is translucent
  •          Add 1 t minced garlic, sauté 1 minute until garlic is fragrant
  •          Add chopped peppers, zucchini and broccoli, sauté 5-6 minutes until cooked through
  • At this point the pasta should be done, using a ladle, remove 1/3 c of the pasta water and save it in a glass or bowl
  •  Drain pasta, add it back to the pot along with the vegetables
  •  Stir 2/3 c of the basil sauce mixture into the pasta and vegetables, add reserved pasta water 1 T at a time until you have reached the desired thickness of sauce you want
  • Garnish with fresh basil and serve with garlic bread

I loved this variation on my hummus pasta sauce.  The roasted garlic and basil really takes this to the next level.  I ate this  wanted to eat this sauce with a spoon.  And the best part, it's packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, and not saturated fats!  That's good for me, any night of the week!!!!

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At April 2, 2012 at 3:28 PM , Blogger Oishii Treats said...

yum, I seriously can't wait to make this for dinner, I love pesto and I think I might even try to make it tonight :) thanks for sharing.

At April 2, 2012 at 3:52 PM , Blogger What's Annie Making? said...

Thanks so much! I love pesto too, and I can't wait to make it with fresh garden basil this summer. Let me know what you think.

At April 2, 2012 at 8:48 PM , Anonymous Em (Wine and Butter) said...

Oh YUM! Chickpeas are like the most verstaile ingredient. Im not much of a pasta fan, but I'd love to try this dip with veggies ... Bookmarked my lady! :)

At April 4, 2012 at 1:27 PM , Blogger What's Annie Making? said...

Thank you. I seriously don't know how I live my life for 20 years without chickpeas. Let me know what you think. I had it spread onto a veggie sandwich for lunch yesterday and it was really good.


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Creamy Pesto Pasta