Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Pesto Caprese Penne with Mozzarella Perline

Our basil is growing quickly in the summer sun and we're challenged to come up with dishes that use it as fast as it grows.  One of my favorites is the Ligurian specialty:  Trofie With Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans.  However, I made that a few days ago and, in my search for other basil/pesto recipes, run across a recipe for Pesto Caprese Penne Pasta which I tweak a little, using the pesto recipe from the trofie dish.

Pesto Caprese Penne with Mozzarella Perline

I make a double portion of the pesto, saving half for this recipe and freezing half for later.  I start with about 120 freshly-picked basil leaves, which trims our plants a little

 Basil plant (after trimming), picked and ready to clean

Two tablespoons of pine nuts are toasted on the stove, then added to the basil along with 8 or so cloves of garlic, in a food processor.  Once the assortment is well blended, we add about two tablespoons each of grated Parmesan Reggiano and grated Pecorino Romano cheeses, along with a pinch of salt.  After a little more combining with the cheeses, olive oil is blended in to create a light creamy texture.

 Toasting pine nuts, other ingredients

 Starting to blend, pesto complete

To make the dish for two, 1/3 pound (150 grams) of pasta is cooked until al dente in a large pot of boiling water, then added to 1/2 cup (120 ml) of cherry tomatoes, 4 ounces (114 grams) of mozzarella perline (small round mozzarella pearls), the basil pesto, and a little fresh basil chiffonade (thin sliced).


 Adding the pesto to tomatoes and mozzarella

 Adding the penne

Buon appetito!

This dish is simple, with a great combination of ingredients and tastes and is truly delicious!

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