Making your own pesto is worth the time because the freshness of the basil comes through. Fortunately, Quikong started a herb garden for me. This way, we always have a fresh supply of basil, which we use quite often in our cooking. I've used walnuts instead of pinenuts in the pesto for a change, and I was pleased with the result.
I enjoyed this so much that I will submit it to Ruth at Once Upon a Feast, who started the weekly food blogging event, Presto Pasta Nights.
Orechiette With Grilled Vegetables, Feta and Roasted Garlic Pesto
Vegetables suitable for grilling/roasting (e.g. pumpkin, eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers)
Roasted garlic pesto (recipe below)
Feta Cheese, cubed
Roasted balsamic red onion (recipe below)
Feta Cheese, crumbled
Brush/spray sliced vegetables with a little olive oil to prevent them from drying out. Grill or roast vegetables till they are tender.
When the vegetables are almost ready, cook the pasta until it is al dente.
To assemble: Firstly, toss the drained pasta with the feta and pesto. Secondly, add the vegetables and take care not to stir too much because the pumpkin might get mushy.
Serve pasta topped with the quartered balsamic red onion, chopped walnuts, extra crumbed feta cheese and a few basil leaves.
2 cups fresh basil
¼ cup walnuts, lightly toasted
½ cup freshly grated parmesan
1 head of roasted garlic
Place all ingredients, except oil, in a mortar and pound it till it forms a smooth paste. You can use a food processor of course but be careful not to overprocess (the basil will get bruised). Slowly add the oil until it is well combined. This can be stored up to a week in the fridge. You can replace walnuts with toasted pine nuts and omit the garlic for a more traditional pesto.
4 red onions