Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pesto Pasta with Pumpkin and Feta

It took me ages to like pesto - primarily, I suspect, because I'd only tasted commercially prepared ones that were far too oily. I'd have a wee taste, and then screw up my face in disappointment, thinking "What is it with this green goop that makes people swoon in delight? I cannot understand it at all!"

Then a friend put me onto home made rocket pesto, and bang! The illuminations, and major appreciation, began! Most pesto recipes call for a bit more oil, but I like to keep mine lighter, with more of an emphasis on the lemon. However, feel free to muck about with it and make it your own.

Pesto Pasta with Pumpkin and Feta

500 grams rigatoni
1/2 Jap pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced into two cm cubes
100 grams feta, crumbled
3 handfuls rocket, washed well
1/3 cup pine nuts
100 grams parmesan cheese, grated
juice of one large lemon (or two small ones - the more juice the better, I think)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
50 ml olive oil (use the best one you can get)

1 - Preheat the oven to 200 C. Place the pumpkin in a baking tray, tossed with a smidge of olive oil, and roast for 20ish minutes, or until tender. Set aside

2 - Cook the rigatoni as per the packet instructions, until al dente. Keeping warm, set aside.

3 - In a food processor, place the rocket, pine nuts and parmesan. Whizz for a minute, or until combined. With the motor running, add the lemon juice and olive oil.

4 - Combine the pesto with the pumpkin, feta and pasta in a large pan, and then serve immediately.

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