21 February 2013

Pesto Pomegranate Pasta

The best weeknight meals have two very important standards.  One, they should be easy to prepare.  The last thing I want to do after working all day is come home and truss a duck.  I'm tired, likely slightly cranky from traffic and just want to relax for a few minutes with my hubs and pup.  The other problem with a Tuesday-night duck is the time it takes to roast.  Now we have many, many friends who find nine o'clock is a perfectly acceptable time to eat dinner.  However, the hubs and I are more of a half past six duo.  After all, morning rounds come at the same time regardless of when we go to bed.  So keeping those two family standards in mind, we have a few favorites for Thursday nights such as these.  And this is one of those favorites.

The hubs has been pomegranate crazy ever since New Years.  We toasted in 2013 with pommosas and haven't stopped enjoying this delicious winter fruit since (the champagne, however, has been mostly omitted).  Be it sipped, reduced or mixed in a marinade, this sweetly tart juice is always enjoyed.  However, nothing is better than fresh pomegranate.  Ever since we learned this ludicrously easy way to remove the fruits inside, a small bowl has been kept in our refrigerator for munching.  

Now I've done many, many recipes with pesto on this blog.  So it should come as no surprise to my avid readers (hi mom!) that I'm giving you yet another option for this delicious fresh spread.  If you've never tried pesto before, please do so!  It's basically fresh basil, parmesan, nuts and a bit of oil.  You can buy it pre-made at the store or make a healthier version at home (as found at the bottom of this delicious stuffed pepper recipe).  Savory, fresh and delicious either hot or cold, this spread perpetually satisfies.  So naturally, we paired it with another seasonal favorite to make a delicious dish.

This is definitely not your classic flavor combo.  And to be honest, I have no idea where the original idea came from.  But something about the thought of combining this fresh, savory spread with tart little pieces of fruity sweetness sounded amazing.  After all, the kitchen is a place to be creative, get messy and even make mistakes.  Perhaps this is why this dish is so near and dear to my heart.  After a loooong string of recipe flops and flails, I was itching for a good one.  And this dish was was it.  Just three simple ingredients - pasta, pesto and pomegranate - and a keeper was born.  Warm chewy noodles soak up the delicious herbaceousness of the pesto for a rich and hearty flavor.  And the sprinkling of pomegranate add little pockets of bright sweetness, along with the fabulous crunch that only their seeds can provide.

Our absolute favorite presentation of this combo is with whole wheat cheese tortellini, as pictured here. However, it is also wonderful with linguine or tagliatelle.  Raviolis would likely be excellent as well.  A side of roast cabbage or salad gives you a complete dinner.  And for a little extra protein, it's wonderful along side simple lemon and pepper tilapia.  Any meal that comes together in the time it takes to cook pasta is perfect after a long day at work.  The standards have been met - easy and fast - and now it's time to eat!

Pesto Pomegranate Pasta (serves 3)
  • 9 oz whole wheat tortellini (or 6 oz whole wheat pasta)
  • 3 tbs Easy Basil Pesto (at bottom of recipe) or store-bought
  • 1/3 - 1/2 c pomegranate seeds

Make your pesto in advance.  Can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Place a pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil.  Cook pasta according to directions, then drain.

While pasta is draining, place the pesto in a large mixing bowl.  Add the pasta and toss gently together until the noodles are evenly coated.  Divide between three places and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Serve hot.

PS - I just realized this is the shortest recipe ever.  Perhaps this is standard #3....

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