SAFFRON PESTO ROTINI
This is just one of the uses for SAFFRON WALNUT PESTO:
Sauteed celery, red pepper and onion mixed with cooked tri-color rotini pasta, then tossed with Saffron Walnut Pesto that was heated till bubbly with a can of Bush’s Vegetarian Baked Beans! All the more creamy with the beans! You won’t believe how flavorful and textural this dish becomes! Tossed with fresh cut grape tomatoes and topped with a fresh combo of chopped mint, basil and sage!
Makes 9 cups
Make the pesto first – a couple days ahead:
SAFFRON WALNUT PESTO
Made with fresh basil and mint, garlic and mustard, Almond Breeze AlmondMilk, Daiya Pepperjack Style Shredded vegan Cheese and extra virgin olive oil. A powerfully expressed avant-guarde version of pesto!
Makes 4-1/2 cups
3/4 oz. fresh mint leaves (about 30 leaves)
3/4 oz. fresh basil leaves (about 30 leaves)
1 c. walnut halves
1/3 c. strained fresh lemon squeeze
6 whole fresh garlic cloves
1 t. pink Himalayan salt
1 c. Almond Breeze Original Unsweetened AlmondMilk
1 t. guar gum powder (as binder and thickener)
1 lg. sweet red roasted pepper, diced plus 1/3 c. liquid from jar
fresh grind black pepper as desired
2 T. dried tarragon
2 t. turmeric
2 t. garlic powder
2 t. smoked paprika
1/4 t. red cayenne pepper
1/2 c. whole grain mustard – I used 2 types: 1 whole grain mustard and 1 dijon whole grained in wine mustard (by Roland)
1 c. Daiya Pepperjack Style Shredded vegan Cheese
1/4 c. liquid from Kalamata olive jar (pungent Greek olives)
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 T. light brown sugar
2 t. liquid smoke
pinch saffron threads or more to taste
salt to taste
Combine in food processor mint, basil, walnuts, lemon, garlic and salt. Process till mealy.
Add remaining ingredients 3-5 at a time, processing till evenly dispersed.
Transfer to covered container and refrigerate till ready to use.
Notes: Lots of ingredients here, but they don’t take long to assemble. It is the number of ingredients that creates the complex texture and flavor achievements when later combined in a recipe using pesto.
Original unsweetened AlmondMilk by Almond Breeze is best to use for this recipe.
When you add the guar gum, process immediately so that it spreads evenly quickly. And then process till the entire mixture thickens – a couple of minutes.
Okay, let’s do it.
1 fresh, sweet red pepper, cored and cut into 3/8 inch squares
1 med. yellow onion, peeled and diced – 1/2 inch squares
2 celery stalks, cut from end to end in half, then crosswise into 3/8 inch wide segments
1/2 t. pink Himalayan salt
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
12 oz. bag Gia Russa Tri-Color Rotini Pasta, cooked according to pkg. instructions, then drained in colander
16 oz. can Bush’s Fat Free Vegetarian Baked Beans
1-1/2 c. Saffron Walnut Pesto
1 c. lg. dice fresh grape tomatoes
fresh mint, sage and basil leaves for garnish
Cook pasta as directed in sufficiently salted boiling water.
In large skillet, over medium heat, saute peppers, onion and celery with salt in extra virgin olive oil till partially charred and wilted, but not mush. Remove from heat.
In small saucepan combine canned beans and pesto. Heat on medium-low heat till bubbly and very hot, stirring as needed. Remove from heat.
Assembly: Transfer drained pasta to extra-large bowl. Add sauteed veggies, followed by bean and pesto mixture. Toss to distribute and cover evenly all ingredients.
Salt and pepper to taste, then add fresh tomatoes. Again toss to distribute evenly.
Serve family style or on individual plates garnished with chopped fresh mint, sage and basil.
Notes: If you want to use another type of bean, that’s okay too, but be sure they possess a creamy component in their sauce to make the pesto creamy too. A little sweet is needed, that the baked beans provide, so go ahead and experiment.
So many rotini brands from the past cooked up like mush, breaking too easily in the water, again while draining then again while mixing. Gia Russa brand – at least this one – does not do that. Still don’t overcook and do toss gently.