One cooking puzzle I’ve never been able to solve is how to achieve the perfect marinara sauce to pasta ratio. My tendency is to overdo the pasta, which means that 9 out of 10 times we have left over spaghetti noodles. If it’s just a little bit, we throw it away. But recently, I made way too much. So much that my guilty conscience kicked into high gear at the thought of wasting so much food.
Therefore, I did the logical thing and created a new recipe to make good use of the leftovers. The resulting meal was a big hit and received the coveted Hiram Seal of Approval. It is dairy-free and versatile, as the cook can add or substitute ingredients, especially the veggies, depending on what’s available.
Basil Pesto Pasta
12 ounces cooked spaghetti noodles
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts pieces (or use pine nuts or almonds)
1/2 cup basil pesto
1/3 cup red sweet pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped (optional)
1 cup kale, torn into small pieces (or use broccoli, green beans, or cauliflower)
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1/2 cup thin-sliced pepperoni, each slice quartered
Heat oil over medium heat in large, heavy pan. Add walnuts and stir fry for 2 minutes or until they begin to brown slightly. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper toweling.
Add vegetables and stir fry until hot, but still fairly firm. Add cooked pasta and stir well until coated with oil. Add the pesto and stir until the pasta is evenly coated. (This takes patience!) Add olives, pepperonim and nuts. Stir for another minute. Serve immediately. Sprinkle with feta or Parmesan cheese if desired.