Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta

July is here! In Rome, this means that the heat wave has arrived and settled in for the next few months (make yourself at home, 90 degree temperatures)! It also means that I find myself staying in the office later than necessary to take advantage of the air conditioning (my apartment doesn't have any,) strategizing on where to best position the few fans we have, and marvelling at the Italians I see still wearing jeans (yes, jeans -- in July). As you can imagine I am now at that point in the Summer where the lazier, easier, and more low-maintenance the dish, the better. Indeed, signs of my pending Summer laziness have already appeared: I've gone from baking fancy layer cakes and tartlets to whipping up this 5 minute avocado basil dip,  this no-bake mascarpone with raspberries, and now this sun-dried tomato pesto pasta. 

But this pesto! Just a few ingredients and a whirl or two in the food processor and you have one of the most exciting sauces ever to be tossed with pasta. Don't estimate the short ingredient list, either, as all four pack a punch: intensely flavorful sun-dried tomatoes, peppery garlic, fresh and sunny basil, and salty rich Parmesan makes for a loud in-your-face sauce (in a good way). And if you needed any more convincing, it takes two seconds to make and requires no stove, oven, or grill, and the pasta is great served room temperature.

A couple of notes: Despite the fact that this recipe is short and simple I went ahead without reading it carefully (whoops) and put the Parmesan directly into the food processor. This turned out just fine, but if you want bigger pieces of cheese stir it in at the end like the original recipe says. The recipe can easily be doubled and served over more pasta if you're feeding more than four. I drained some of the oil off of the tomatoes here out of habit, but feel free to just dump all of the contents of the jar right into the food processor. Finally, I used farfalle pasta but feel free to use any shape you want.

Stay tuned for more lazy recipes -- after all, pasta needs to be boiled, and by August that will be asking a lot (if July is the time where my cooking gets lazier, August is when popsicles and gelato become a completely acceptable meal option). Enjoy!

SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO PASTA

Ingredients:
1 (8.5 ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
1 clove garlic
1 cup basil, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
12 ounces farfalle pasta or any other pasta of your choice

Directions:
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. 
Meanwhile, blend the sun-dried tomatoes and their oil, garlic, and a little salt and pepper, to taste, and basil in a food processor and blend until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Transfer the tomato mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the Parmesan.


Add the pasta to the pesto and toss to coat, adding enough reserved cooking water to moisten. Serves 4.
 



Recipe slightly adapted from www.foodnetwork.com (Giada di Laurentiis).



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