Pasta with Spinach Pesto Cream Sauce and Oven Dried Tomatoes

I have a habit of over-buying. The excitement of fresh produce at the grocery store always makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Sometimes, I get too excited resulting in excess warmth and excess fuzziness.

“Yes, I can use 18 tomatoes” and “I do need 12 gallons of farm-fresh baby spinach” and “10lb of potatoes is a reasonable purchase for 1 person” — honestly, these are things I have thought.

 I know, I know…

It was this sort of situation that led to me to seek out a recipe that would somehow allow me to preserve and/or utilize my bushel of roma tomatoes. Oven-dried tomatoes? Perfect!

Sweet, yet savory with a concentrated tomato flavor that is too-die-for — I can’t really say a bad thing about tomatoes cooked this way. I threw the majority of them on top of a pasta dish topped off with spinach pesto sauce. This recipe looks like Christmas in a bowl, making it ideal for the season.

Oven Dried Tomatoes 
Source: My Recipes
Printable Recipe

1-2lb tomatoes (I used Roma)
kosher salt

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Half/quarter your tomatoes. The smaller you cut them, the faster they will be done. Scoop out most of the seeds of each tomato. Place skin-side up onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt (optional). Bake at 250 (or lowest setting your oven will go to) for about 4-6hrs depending on juiciness of tomato/type of tomato/desired dryness. I stored mine in a container in the fridge, but (rumor has it) they will keep well in the freezer for ‘months.’ Let me know if you try it.

Spinach Pesto Cream Sauce 
Source: FoodNetwork Magazine + Me
Printable Recipe

For the pesto:
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3C pine nuts (walnuts or almonds would work too)
8oz baby spinach
zest of 1/2 of lemon
1/3 extra-virgin olive oil
salt, pepper

Pulse nuts, garlic, and spinach until coarsely chopped. Add in lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice. With food processor running, drizzle in 1/3C olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the cream sauce:
 2/3C heavy cream
1/2C spinach pesto
1/2C parmesan cheese
8oz cooked pasta (gemelli or other)
oven-dried tomatoes

In medium saucepan, combine heavy cream and spinach pesto. Bring to a simmer and let reduce by 1/2, whisking occasionally. Combine cream sauce with cooked pasta. Garnish with parmesan cheese and oven-dried tomatoes.


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