after reading through my dad's pesto tale last week, i had pesto on the brain. lucky for me, i also had a pint of fresh cherry tomatoes from my mom's backyard - lucky, since the chipmunks and deer managed to eat all of my tomatoes, plant and all, this year - and my basil was overflowing. i tossed the two together, topped it with some prosciutto i crisped up in a pan and had a simple, flavorful, thirty minute summer-on-a-plate dinner.
penne with pesto, softened tomatoes, and crispy prosciutto
30 minutes, serves 6
one word of warning about the time: if you're a good kitchen multitasker - meaning you can have a pot of water boiling for pasta on the stove, prosciutto sizzling in a skillet, and make pesto at the same time - then this can be made in in 30 minutes. if you aren't so good at multitasking, give yourself an extra 10 minutes or so.
1 pound penne or other short cut pasta
1/4 pound prosciutto
at least 2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup almonds or pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, peeled
about 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh grated romano cheese
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
- cook your pasta according to the package directions.
- while the pasta is cooking, heat a small non-stick skillet over low heat. cook the prosciutto in batches until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. roughly chop the crispy prosciutto and set aside.
- when the prosciutto is finished cooking, add the cherry tomatoes, turn the heat down as low as it can go, and cook just until heated through and starting to soften.
- to make the pesto, combine the basil, nuts, and garlic in your food processor. pulse until it is roughly chopped. while the processor is running, stream in about a half cup of olive oil. add the cheese and pulse just until combined.
- drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pan. toss the hot pasta with the pesto and mix in the tomatoes. serve with the crispy prosciutto on top.