Basil is a wonderful herb which is very much at home with tomatoes either fresh or preserved. One of the most popular ways of tomato preservation is the sun dried version. Careful, some versions are better than others. The hard as a rock type are not my go-to, i like the ones that are still somewhat soft or packed in Olive Oil. While your basil is flourishing in your garden try this “Condimento” on your next pasta dish, Sun Dried Tomato, Basil, and Black Olive Pesto.
for 4 people (1 lb of cooked pasta)…takes 10 minutes to prepare…then needs to “cure” for at least 3 hours at room temperature.
1 cup packed rinsed FRESH (see that, dried basil has no place in this recipe)BASIL LEAVES
1/8 cup toasted PIGNOLI
1/4 cup EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
1/4 cup SUN DRIED TOMATOES (if using Olive Oil packed, drain and reserve that oil, use it in the recipe, but only if it’s OLIVE OIL)
1 clove GARLIC
1/2 cup GRATED PECORINO ROMANO (i find Pecorino is better with the strong flavored Tomatoes and Olives than Parmigiano)
1/8 cup pitted CURED BLACK OLIVES
1 tbs. RED WINE VINEGAR
1 lb PASTA cooked Al DENTE, my preference? glad you asked…CAVATAPPI, those long corkscrews with a hole down the center..
KOSHER or SEA SALT, PEPPER to taste
1 cup whole milk RICOTTA
Using a food processor add all the ingredients except the Oil and Vinegar, salt and pepper, just until everything is chopped up. Then with the machine running add the vinegar and oil. When it’s smooth stop. Taste. Add salt and pepper to season at that point, again, with all that Pecorino which is slightly salty you want to make sure you do not over salt the pesto.
Let this sit for up to 3 hours. Why? You are using a dehydrated food..it will need time to “bloom” with it’s flavors. I know, excessive foodie blogger speak, sometimes it’s necessary. In non-foodie speak the locked in flavors of dried foods need to be awakened and letting the pesto sit for a while will do that. Do not refrigerate it at this point.
When the pesto is ready cook the pasta, drain, lightly drizzle it with olive oil and a grating of Pecorino Romano, then mix in the Pesto. When fully mixed in let it sit for about 5 minutes then serve. Piping hot food many times keeps you from savoring the flavors.
Serve the pasta with a scoop of ricotta on the side. Very tasty!!