Sundried Tomato & Toasted Walnut Pasta

So there I was, all alone… without kids and no husband for an entire evening!

Pat was Up North bow hunting and my Mother-in-law took the girls for a sleepover as she always does when it’s one of her grand-daughters’ birthdays {bless her heart}. And I found myself in a predicament that I haven’t had happen to me in a loooong while.

I had to make dinner… for just myself.

All the possibilities ran through my head; greasy burger, fries and a beer or maybe sushi. But I’m not really good at doing the whole out-to-dinner thing by myself, so after a quick stop at the used book store I found myself at the grocery store buying ingredients {and by ingredients I mean wine} to make this pasta dish that I’ve wanted to make for a while now.

Now I could NEVER in a bazillion years make this for neither my husband nor my girls. It was a one-time-chance-of-a-thing, that I could enjoy something soooo extravagant {even though it’s really not} and so I picked up a bottle of Pinot and rushed home before the sunlight vanished.

The ingredients are pretty basic. You’ve got your sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, parm, garlic, lemon for a little freshness and the walnuts. You’ll also need some olive oil and spaghetti noodles or any noodle you fancy.

I immediately start by bringing a large pot of water to boil. I throw the pasta into the pot right after the pesto is made, so having the water ready and boiling is a good idea to speed things along.

Toasting the walnuts brings out their natural oils and makes them a little nuttier. It’s absolutely fabulous so just throw about a quarter of a cup of walnuts into a dry pan and heat over medium until fragrant. About 8-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.

Mean while I tossed in a few sundried tomatoes {in olive oil} into a food processor. I have a GIANT jar of these… like Costco big, and I would say there was about 5-6 smallish ones. So like a quarter cup packed.

Then after that I added in the cooled toasted walnuts.

A few large leaves of basil, about 5.

A heaping quarter cup of fresh Parmesan that I grated by hand, not the pre-grated stuff… that stuff is usually coated in an anti-caking powder and well… it kind of freaks me out.

I then smashed, peeled and roughly chopped one smallish clove of garlic and tossed that in to the mix.

I squeezed just a smidgen of lemon juice… to brighten it up, about a teaspoon.

Then I drizzled in a quarter cup of olive oil and threw in some fresh cracked black pepper as well.

I put the lid on and blitzed it until it was pesto-fied. I did have to remove the lid and add a little bit more olive oil to get it to a peso-like consistency… so keep an eye out for that.

This.Smells.Heavenly. {by the way… right now is when I drop the pasta into the awaiting pot}

Remember that pan that I toasted the walnuts in? Well it has some remaining walnut oil residue {and walnut dust} in it, so put the pan back on the burner and turn the heat up to medium.

Add in the pesto…

Stir and stir and stir until little bits of the pest start to caramelize on the bottom of the pan.

Meet Pinot. Please take note of the cork that is in one piece… thank you, thank you.

Drizzle a little {or a LOT} depending on how wine-y you want this. Don’t like wine? Try a little vegetable or chicken broth or use some regular old water. Scrape the bottom of the pan to break those caramelized bits free.

Right after you’ve cooked the pasta to the package directions; grab some tongs and remove the pasta straight from the pot and into the pan. Why dirty a colander?

Give it a good toss. Add a 1/4 cup of the pasta water to thicken the sauce. Season with kosher salt and more black pepper to taste and you’re good to go.

Like real good.

I shaved some more Parmesan cheese over top of my bowl-o-pasta and poured myself more of that Pinot. Then I shoveled this in like there was no tomorrow. Luckily there was no one around to watch. It felt great.

I have to say, it was fun making dinner just for me, and making something I like and had enough leftovers for ME the next day. Then five minutes later I was bored, so I poured another glass of wine, caught up on my Words With Friends and then finished off a slice of my daughter’s birthday cake {recipe coming soon!}.

This pasta dish for two is deliciously nutty, light and sultry and did you catch the part where it can be whipped up in thirty minutes? Enjoy!

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Sundried Tomato & Toasted Walnut Pasta

A delicious 30 minute pasta dish!

Yield: 2

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Walnuts, toasted

1/4 cup packed Sun-dried Tomatoes {about 5 small packed in olive oil}

1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for serving

4 or 5 large Fresh Basil Leaves

1 clove Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1/4 cup Olive Oil, more if desired

1 teaspoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper

White Wine, to taste {I like Pinot Grigio}

Kosher Salt

1/2 box of Spaghetti Noodles

1/4 cup reserved Pasta Water

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Mean while, toast the walnuts in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Watch closely so they don't burn.

In a mini food processor combine the sundried tomatoes, toasted walnuts, basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil and black pepper. Process until thick and paste-like. Add more olive oil if it is too dry and crumbly.

Drop in the pasta and cook as directed on the package {usually 8-10 minutes on average}.

Re-heat the pan you toasted the walnuts in over medium heat and add in the sun-dried tomato/ walnut pesto. Stir often while the pesto starts to caramelize on the bottom of the pan.

Deglaze the pan with a good splash of white wine. Use as much or as little as you would like. Stir and scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pan.

Turn the heat off and, using tongs, add in the spaghetti noodles straight from the pot. Add a 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water and toss some more.

Top with shavings of parmesan and serve.

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32 Responses to “Sundried Tomato & Toasted Walnut Pasta”

  1. #
    1
    Kathryn — October 8, 2012 at 8:38 am

    This is pretty much my perfect bowl of pasta. I can’t wait for my next single lady night so I can whip this up!

  2. #
    2
    Kay @ The Church Cook — October 8, 2012 at 10:03 am

    You had time to cook, take photos, and post without anyone around? Well deserved time! The whole process is so relaxing when family are not around right? This looks awesome, Laurie!

  3. #
    3
    Blog is the New Black — October 8, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Gorgeous and delicious!

  4. #
    4
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — October 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    So lovely! I really like that pesto!

  5. #
    5
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — October 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    wow, this is super fancy – i would have done the greasy burger ;) or invited you over to make awesome fancy pasta and drink wine!

  6. #
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    Missy — October 8, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Looks so good Laurie! Great pics as usual :)

  7. #
    7
    Taylor — October 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    I love how easy this is! Thanks for sharing!

  8. #
    8
    Cassie — October 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    This is definitely something that I would eat on an alone night – love the ingredients!

  9. #
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    Julia (the roasted root) — October 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Oh goody, I LOVE having dinner dates by myself! That may sound strange but it’s nice sometimes to only cater to your own tastebuds and either take your time preparing or just throw it all together quickly. Your pesto looks lovely and your mini food processor is COOL! I bet this was a very enjoyable meal! Your hubs is a bow hunter? What. A. Stud!

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    Julie @ Table for Two — October 8, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    you totally just inspired me to go pick some basil out of my garden and make some sundried tomato pesto with it!! yum :)

  11. #
    11
    jennifurla — October 8, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Heaven in a bowl! PS – tried your nutella PB cookies, loved them..made them with my daughter Indigo. I posted them on my blog, and also linked back to you.

  12. #
    12
    Kari@Loaves and Dishes — October 8, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    I adore pasta dishes, and my favorites are the most simple. Would it be weird to say that this pasta dish is adorable?

  13. #
    13
    Chris — October 8, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    The pics and your explanation is great, so i just want to start to cook! Just posted this receipt to Twitter…Wish you a lot of followers….would be glad if you would like write a guest post (receipt) on my blog http.//mediterran-leben.com…

  14. #
    14
    Chris — October 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    if you want…look at my kitchen ware olive wood page….with olive wood chopping boards your pics look maybe even more Mediterrean (and by the way also perfect for cutting, because one of the hardest woods exist. Also fine pored so it adopt almost no odor…)

  15. #
    15
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — October 8, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Amazing! Jason is a huge sun-dried tomato fan so he is going to be thrilled when I make this for him!

  16. #
    16
    Dana @ This Silly Girl's Life — October 8, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Looks SOOO good!

  17. #
    17
    Pretend Chef — October 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Looks so delicious.

  18. #
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    sally @ sallys baking addiction — October 9, 2012 at 2:22 am

    gorgeous pics laurie! i love this recipe – so simple, yet elegant. I love adding nuts to my pasta dishes – it gives the whole meal a nice crunch! I will most definitely be eating sundried tomatoes in some form soon b/c now I want them!

  19. #
    19
    nadia — October 9, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Loving your blog! Great recipes, lovely pics and make everything easy to follow.

  20. #
    20
    Muna Kenny — October 9, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Another easy to make yet flavorful and beautiful dish!

  21. #
    21
    Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — October 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    It’s really rare for me, too, to have an evening to myself and the chance to make anything I want for dinner. The next time that happens, I’m making this! Delicious!

  22. #
    22
    Jessica@AKitchenAddiction — October 9, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    This sounds fantastic! I need a night where I’m just cooking for myself!

  23. #
    23
    Andrea — October 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I love your blog! I only wish that your amazing final dish photo would print along with your recipe. :)

  24. #
    24
    Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama — October 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    ahhh just the toasted walnuts alone make me want a whole bowl of this pasta. But then the tomatoes… YUM! This looks mouth watering!

  25. #
    25
    Rashmi — October 9, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Looks delicious and inviting pasta because i like sun dried tomato. thanks for this great recipe

  26. #
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    Rashmi — October 9, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    It is really great recipe because i like sun dried tomato.

  27. #
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    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — October 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    This is my kind of pasta! My husband wouldn’t eat it either. He is leaving in November for a night though :)

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    Nicole @ Lapetitebaker — October 10, 2012 at 2:46 am

    What pretty pictures! I love cooking for myself, it lets me get more creative in the kitchen. This pesto recipe is going into my whats for dinner box. Thanks!

  29. #
    29
    PolaM — October 10, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    What a great version of pesto! Love the white wine and cooking addition at the end!

  30. #
    30
    Jen @ Savory Simple — October 10, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Now this is my kind of pasta!

  31. #
    31
    Shaun Kilkenny — October 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Just got around to trying this one. I threw in some roasted sliced up summer squash, onions and carrots to bulk up the pasta a bit.
    Yum!
    Thanks!

  32. #
    32
    Michelle Thomas — January 30, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    It was super good (and it’s funny, cause I’ve never been a big fan of sundried tomatoes – I know, I know). Having the leftovers for lunch today. Thanks for sharing! Will make again and again.

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