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Use it or lose it

September 2, 2011

It’s been a busy couple of weeks around here and despite my best intentions, not much cooking was done.  I purchased these grape tomatoes about two weeks ago thinking that I would make this Tomato and Almond pesto that very night.  Who knows what happened, but the pesto didn’t get made and the tomatoes sat in the refrigerator.  Finally on Tuesday it was do or die, use it or lose it.  Something had to be done with the tomatoes.

I was drawn to the recipe because I’d never heard of a pesto with tomatoes as a primary ingredient.  The almonds work as a thickener, providing substance to help the pesto cling to the pasta but I never would have picked them as an ingredient because there wasn’t any discernible almond taste.  There’s a little bit of a bite from the red pepper flakes, just enough to make it interesting but the flavor that really popped for me was the fresh basil.  This little number couldn’t be easier to put together, about 5 minutes for the pesto plus the time to boil water and cook pasta.  I think it might also have possibilities as a spread for toasted baguette slices, maybe with a sprinkle of mozzarella or a couple of shavings of fresh parmesan.

Pasta with Tomato and Almond Pesto
from Cooks Illustrated, July 1, 2009
Serves 4 – 6

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
12 oz grape tomatoes (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Process the almonds through red wine vinegar in a food processor or blender until smooth, about one minute.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover and with the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil.

Add the pesto to your cooked pasta (it will coat about one pound of pasta), tossing to combine thoroughly.

Nutritional Information – based on 5 servings of the pesto (pasta not included):

Weight Watchers PointsPlus – 5

Calories – 186
Total Fat –  17.3 g
Cholesterol –  0 mg
Sodium – 465 mg
Total Carbohydrates – 1.7 g
Dietary Fiber – .6 g
Sugars – 2.6 g
Protein – 1.4 g

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