Basil Spaghetti with Basil Mint Pesto

This was an impromptu recipe; I randomly found the pasta because it caught my eye as I was looking through the food and kitchen section at Marshall’s for something completely different — yes, I did say Marshall’s; don’t sleep on them, they have some great deals! But the crazy part is, it started this whole experimental phase in my cooking where I wanted to start making dishes with colored pasta. Eventually, I want to start making pasta from scratch. I want to make more simple components from scratch also, like this pesto for example, which wasn’t from scratch but instead I used a pre-made base pesto which I added to. I know making items from scratch is more labor-intensive but I think it’s one of the marks of a true chef and so I need to make at least a few pasta dishes with fresh pasta. Just don’t hold your breath until it happens!

Basil Pasta and Mushrooms

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 package of naturally colored pasta — I used an Italian brand I’ve never heard of and this was basil pasta but you can use spinach pasta or another green pasta. I prefer green because it goes well with the color pop of this dish.
  • 1 cup of Trader Joe’s kale, cashew and basil pesto
  • 1 cup organic grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Approximately 7-8 baby bella mushrooms, sliced down the middle, stems intact
  • 1 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves (and a few additional leaves for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

What to Do:

  1.  Prepare pasta in a large saucepan according to instructions. Use about 1/3 to 1/2 of the package of pasta, enough to make approximately 3-4 cups of cooked pasta. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a medium-sized skillet on low to medium heat with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil.
  3. Once hot, place mushrooms in skillet and saute for approximately 2 minutes.
  4. Add grape tomatoes to skillet and mix mushrooms and tomatoes to cover in oil.
  5. Add garlic powder and salt to skillet and mix well into veggies.
  6. Continue to saute mushrooms and tomatoes until mushrooms brown (more than they already are) and, more importantly, until tomatoes get a few dark roasted and caramelized parts. Remove from heat and set aside.*
  7. Chop the fresh mint very, very finely. Place pesto in a small bowl and add fresh chopped mint to pesto. Mix well with a fork.**
  8. Combine mushrooms and tomatoes with pasta in saucepan.
  9. Add pesto to pasta mixture and stir well.
  10. Transfer pasta to serving dish and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Bon appetit!

* The tomatoes have a high water content so be careful when you try to give them this roasted “crisp” look. Some of them stuck to the pan, which was okay but you might have to turn them more frequently. Just watch them carefully to make sure they don’t all stick and become unusable for the recipe.

** If preferred, you can add the pesto and chopped mint to a food processor. Pulse a few times to blend. If using this method, you don’t have to chop the mint as finely but still chop the leaves into slightly fine pieces.

Date posted on Instagram: 6/21/18

Author: thevegangirlnyc

Vegan foodie in New York City. Saving the animals, the planet, and my health one meal at a time.

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