Farro with Pesto, Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper

The idea for this recipe came from one of the recipe mailing lists to which I subscribe. I liked the concept of pesto with farro. I changed up the add-ins and served this warm.

Results were mixed. One person felt it didn’t need the pesto, another adored the pesto. Most just gobbled it up. 🙂

Farro with Pesto, Zucchini and Red Bell Pepper
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups uncooked pearled farro
  • 2 zucchinis (see directions for prep)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and 1/2″ dice
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
  • 8 oz. prepared basil pesto
  • 4 oz. pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 oz. fresh basil, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil in a 4-quart sauce pan. Add the salt and bay leaves; stir until salt is dissolved. Add the farro and stir. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes.
  2. While the farro cooks prep the zucchini. Remove the stem end and then cut into quarters lengthwise. Remove the seeds from the center of each quarter and then slice into 1/2″ wedges. Combine with peppers and set aside.
  3. When farro is ready drain it and transfer to a large bowl. Mix the zucchini and pepper mixture into the farro. Gently fold the pesto and half of the pine nuts into the mix.
  4. Just before serving garnish with the remaining pine nuts and fresh basil.

Notes:
Pearled farro will cook faster than the semi-pearled variety, which is what I normally use. My regular brand (Bob’s Red Mill) was out of stock at the local megamart where I normally pick it up. Luckily I found another brand close at hand.

The original recipe that sparked my recipe can be found at campbells.com

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Pasta with Pesto and Roasted Cauliflower

This recipe breaks down into 4 basic steps once the prep work is done – make pesto, roast cauliflower, boil pasta and combine. If you cut the cauliflower small enough it disappears a midst the pasta and pesto. That’s not a bad thing if you are feeding children or the cauliflower-phobic.
[Pasta with Pesto and Roasted Cauliflower]
While I made this dish to be served hot/warm it could also work as a cold salad.

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Cucumber with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

I made these for our holiday party this year. I was in search of a vegetable appetizer, something that was a single bit and savory. I found a recipe titled “Gluten Free Cucumber Slices Provençal” which fit the bill.

Cucumber with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Cucumber with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

I’m not sure why the title includes the words “gluten free”. It is gluten free however I can’t conceive of a way to make the dish that would include gluten. Anyway, I made a few changes to the recipe so it fit it to my taste.
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Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil

This is a classic combination and it is best with locally grown, fresh from the garden, tomatoes. This isn’t so much of a recipe as an assembly job.

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil

Never, ever, refrigerate tomatoes. Refrigeration dulls the flavor and once dulled it will never return to it’s former glory. This warning holds true for this dish as well. Prepare it just before your meal and don’t stick it in the fridge.

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Slow-Cooker Tomato Sauce

This recipe is an amalgam of my own experience making quick tomato sauce and a few recipes I found online for using the slow-cooker for the task. I wanted a large batch of sauce so that I could use some to cook meatball and still have the majority be plain tomato sauce.

Slow-Cooker Tomato Sauce
Servings: ~8 cups of sauce
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 6.5 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, small dice (this was 2 medium onions for me)
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 29 oz. can Hunts Tomato Sauce
  • 4 15 oz. cans Hunts diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I used Coppola Rosso Red Table Wine)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fine-ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili pepper flake
  • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • chiffonade of fresh basil

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients except oregano, butter and basil in your slow cooker insert. I used the wine to thin out the tomato paste, making it easier to incorporate the paste into the sauce.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours. Stir occasionally. Remove the cover and continue to cook on low for another 3 hours. If the sauce appears to be drying out re-cover. There’s more liquid in there than you realize.
  3. Remove 3 cups of sauce to a blender and puree. Return pureed sauce to the pot. Add oregano and butter, stir to combine.
  4. Add fresh chopped basil to the finished sauce.

Notes:
I have a pet-peeve around recipes that list a generic item, such as red wine, when they could be more specific. There are only about 3 bazillion different red wines in the world. You could at least give a hint what basic category you used in your version of the recipe. I may not be able to find a “Merriam Vineyards 2008 Windacre Cabernet Franc” but I can at least find a nice Cabernet sauvignon or a basic red table wine if you tell me that is what you used.