Healthy International Recipe: Italian Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Arugula2 min read
Pasta is as ubiquitous in Italy as fish in the sea. Many of the most famous and beloved Italian pastas come swathed in deliciously decadent and creamy sauces that taste heavenly but might leave you with a bellyache. This light and vegetable packed pesto pasta dish tastes just as filling and satisfying as those heavier pasta dishes, and you can enjoy it guilt free. Arugula and basil, rich in chlorophyll, offer powerful detoxification qualities, and extra virgin olive oil, another mainstay in Italy, boasts heart healthy unsaturated fats. Tomatoes add a burst of color and flavor, and fill you up with fiber and lycopene, vital for the health of your eyes and skin. All in all, this pasta dish packs more vegetables bite for bite, but still satisfies your pasta cravings.
Makes roughly 1 cup of pesto
Total Time: 10 minutes
- 1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried (about 2 loosely packed cups)
- 3 medium cloves of garlic
- 1 small handful of raw pine nuts
- 3/4 cup Parmesan, loosely packed and freshly grated
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (2-4, depending on the consistency you’re going for)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan, and lemon juice. Blitz everything together to combine, then slowly stream in the olive oil, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency (remember you might not use all the olive oil).
- Season to taste with salt and pepper as needed, and set aside.
Alternatively, you could make this pesto by chopping all the ingredients finely by hand, using a mezzaluna (a half-moon shaped Italian knife).
Serves four people
Total Time: 15 minutes
- 1 pound fresh pasta (use whatever shape you like)
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 4 handfuls fresh arugula
- Extra Parmesan cheese to grate on top, if desired
- Bring a large pot of water up to a roaring boil, and salt the water generously. Cook the pasta until al dente, anywhere from 3-6 minutes depending on the pasta you’ve chosen.
- Drain the cooked pasta and toss immediately with the prepared pesto, the tomatoes, and the arugula. The arugula will wilt into the warm pasta and pesto.
- Distribute the pasta evenly amongst four bowls, and top with extra Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.
Note: For protein, you can also add some sautéed shrimp to this pasta dish.