It was a lazy Saturday night in. Amidst a busy weekend filled with workshops, meetings and 2 family gatherings, I managed to spare time to cook a very quick and simple dinner composed of, essentially, pasta and grilled vegetables.
The ‘glamour’ factor of the dinner was Jamie Oliver’s Italian Herb Pesto ready-made sauce. I love my pestos, and I am still experimenting with various store-bought ready-made sauces.
I know you’re probably wondering why I don’t make my own pesto sauce. Well, it is not that easy to find basil in our supermarkets here. And my first ever pesto sauce made with basil blended with extra virgin olive oil had left a raw, greenish taste in my mouth. I have to summon up my courage again before attempting my homemade pesto sauce 😛 Hopefully it will taste better the next time around.
This is the recipe and steps for tonight’s dinner for two.
JAMIE OLIVER’S ITALIAN HERB PESTO PASTA WITH GRILLED VEGETABLES
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
200g pasta of you choice (I used bavette, a narrower version of tagliatelle)
1 jar of Jamie Oliver’s Italian Herb Pasta sauce
1 cup brown mushrooms, cut into slices
2 tbsp pine nuts
1-2 medium-sized zucchini or eggplant, de-seed and cut into 0.5cm slices
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1. Sprinkle the zucchini and/or eggplant with a pinch of salt and ground black pepper (to taste). Coat the vegetables with salt and black pepper on both sides thoroughly.
2. Start boiling half a pot of water with 1 tsp salt on medium heat.
3. While the water is coming to a boil, heat up your grill or grill pan with a little olive oil.
4. Grill the vegetables on low to medium heat until both sides are cooked. You may adjust how crunchy you’d like the vegetables by adjusting the cooking time.
5. When the vegetables are done, remove them from the grill and set them aside to cool on a plate with some kitchen towels (to absorb the excess oil).
6. Now we will cook the pasta. Put your pasta into the boiling water and cook till al dente.
7. In the meantime, using a pan without oil or just a slight drizzle, brown the pine nuts until they look shiny and smell fragrant. Be careful not to let them get too burnt. Remove and set aside.
7. In the same pan, heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil and sauté the mushrooms till fragrant. Remove from the pan and set aside.
8. Pour the pesto sauce into the pan and sauté lightly till fragrant. Add the cooked pasta into the pesto sauce and coat thoroughly.
9. Before serving, toss the Italian herb pesto pasta with the sautéed mushrooms and pine nuts.
10. Serve with grilled vegetables on the side.
I would suggest that you apply a little mindfulness and try paying attention to the taste of the dish while you are tucking in 🙂
For me, the zucchini and eggplant were crunchy, refreshingly juicy and sweet. The pesto tasted savoury with a tinge of sourness, added with the smokiness of the sautéed mushrooms, and the nuttiness from the creamy pine nuts. To me, it tasted lip smackingly good!
I like my good oils hence I was able to take the ‘oiliness’ of both the pesto pasta and grilled vegetables.
For those who would like a healthier version, serve the pasta with a side of salad with your dressing of choice. I like to make my own dressing of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and some lemon juice mixed well in a jar. It’s really simple and healthy. This kind of dressing goes very well with rocket and greens salad, which is one of my favourites ❤
There you go, I hope you like my simple quick-cook recipe, which is perfect for a lazy weekend where you don’t feel like doing the full works of cooking preparation and washing up after a meal. You may also try cooking this after you come home from work and want a quick yet satisfying vegetarian meal.
I work five days a week, so my weekends are normally precious times for me to catch up with family, friends and my side projects. I try my best to cook at least one meal per week, with my hectic schedule. Cooking gives me the joyful satisfaction of being self-sufficient and eating healthy food with no MSG.
I consider myself a novice cook, because I like simple meals with few ingredients. And I tend to just throw together whatever I have in the fridge for an experiment. If you have tips and advice for me on how to enhance this meal or make it taste better, please comment below. I would love to hear your feedback!