Quinoa Pasta With Pesto & Fresh Tomatoes

pesto and tomatoes

Lately, it’s become known that if you’re coming to my house for dinner, you should not make any plans to go out and socialize after. This is due to my affinity for cooking with garlic. So, in proper Mardi form, I invited some friends over for dinner last night and served them some garlicky pesto pasta.
I grew up eating my mom’s best friend’s famous pesto and I am still waiting to get this recipe from her and to see if she minds me sharing it here because it is hands down the best pesto around. In the meantime, since I knew we had somewhere to be last night, I was looking for something quick and simple. I came across this recipe on Savory Sweet Life and it looked pretty straight forward so I decided to go with that. Since my local market was having a great deal on campari tomatoes, I thought I would mix them in with some quinoa pasta and the pesto. This definitely wasn’t the flavorful pesto that I grew up eating, but it turned out to be a pretty tasty and garlic-breath inducing meal. To round out the dinner, my friend and my cousin made a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad and some sauteed brussel sprouts. Both were such simple dishes but were packed with so much yummy flavor. Here they are being cute and posing with their delicious dishes…

krista and mark - gues chefs

sauteed brussel sprouts

tomatoes and mozzarella

Here is the pesto recipe from Savory Sweet Life:

Basil Pesto Recipe with Garlic Ingredients:
2 cups of fresh basil, packed
3 cloves of garlic (more of less depending on how spicy you like it)
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
A pinch of salt and pepper to taste
Directions: In a food processor, pulsate basil, pine nuts, garlic, and Parmesan cheese until everything is mixed in with each other. Slowly add extra virgin olive oil and pulsate again until everything is fully combined and incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Mark’s Brussel Sprouts:

Zap the brussles on in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.  Cut them in halves and score them  (cut in each one slightly with a knife so that the flavor gets in/they cook inside). Put the halved brussels in a large bowl and drizzle in olive oil. Season with Salt and pepper and then improvise with what’s available which is usually: garlic and onion powder, rosemary.
Throw on the grill pan flipping them every 4 minutes to allow the next side to blacken a bit.  UP TO 16 minutes (at this point I eyeball them and sometimes just leave them for 12 if they’re getting nice and grilled all around).
When done cooking, put them back in the bowl with the remaining oil and seasons and toss one more time so that the left over dressing coats them.
Krista’s Mozz & Tomats:
Slice up some fresh mozzarella and fresh tomatoes.  Place on a plate and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle on some garlic pepper and sea salt and serve!  This is so simple and yet has so much flavor.

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