This recipe happily came out of nowhere. While getting ready to leave town, I noticed I needed to use up some cream, fresh mozzarella and basil (in case my vaca causes my basil plant to rethink its healthy status). Since I was lacking the fresh tomatoes, caprese couldn't be completed. What's the next best thing to fresh basil and mozzarella caprese? Pesto pasta! My fresh basil leaves were just asking for a quick turn in the food processor and the result was amazing!
Book number two, From the Herb Garden, features Nut-less Basil Pesto (also called a pistou) on pg. 21. Use the EZ recipe from the book, the recipe in the pistou link here or substitute store-bought if it's easier. Making the pesto is the hardest part of the dish.
This recipe is for four, but can be easily doubled or halved.
Creamy Red Pesto Pasta
8 oz. pasta (I used whole wheat, organic rotini)
1 c. jarred pasta sauce
1/2 c. prepared pesto or pistou
1/2 c. half and half or cream
4 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into pieces
grated parmesan cheese (optional)
red pepper flakes (optional)
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and return to the hot pot and heat over medium heat.
Stir in pesto and pasta sauce. Let cook for two minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cream.
Place pasta on plates and top with diced mozzarella, grated parmesan cheese and a pinch of red pepper flakes.