Sunday, August 05, 2012

Mom Meals: Pesto Pasta with Brie

Early into our relationship, I realized that Thane had I had very different cooking styles.  My gourmet husband cooks like he has all the time in the world, and the results are stellar: perfectly rolled pie crusts, delectable risotto, amazing roasted veggies.  I, on the other hand, cook like my mom and her mom before her. I cook like a mom.  I need to make dinners that allow me to multitask. This means I often cook casseroles or other things that are quick to assemble and the can be left for a while as I go about other tasks.

I'm going to start sharing some of my mom meals, because I KNOW there are others out there could use these recipes!

Tonight, I made a yummy pasta with homemade pesto, brie, and fresh tomatoes from our garden.  I originally got this idea after a dinner out with my mom a few years ago at Il Fornaio.  I have started making a few changes, like using a full on pesto instead of just a few basil leaves.

This meal is relatively inexpensive, makes great leftovers, can be made in separate little steps (like making the pesto at a different time than the main meal), and, best of all, can easily be eaten one handed while nursing a baby or otherwise wrangling the kiddos.

Now, your inaugural Mom Meal:

Pesto Pasta with Brie

1) Pesto of your choice. I used this walnut pesto recipe (minus the butter) for tonight's meal -- as pine nuts are waaay to pricey.

I doubled the recipe and froze some in cubes for the winter (when I'll add a single cube to a tomato based sauce for a nice punch of flavor).
2) Brie. I buy the 17 oz wheels of brie from Costco. I use 1/4-1/3 of a wheel in this dish.  How cheesy you want it is up to you. Keep in mind that brie takes a lot of stirring to entirely melt.

3) Tomatoes. I used a bowl-full of fresh cherry tomatoes from our garden.

4) 1 pound of pasta.

You can increase or decrease the ingredients as they suit your own taste!

The whole meal, including making the pesto, can be made in around 30 minutes.  Tonight, however, it took me almost two hours, because I had to stop twice to feed Ari and several more times to entertain the little guy.  Luckily, this meal breaks into discreet steps:

1) Make the pesto (blend olive oil, salt, garlic, basil, walnuts, and parmesan cheese, or according to your recipe's instructions).
2) Heat water for pasta
3) Slice tomatoes (if necessary) and brie while pasta boils
4) Add pasta to boiling water, boil to your preferred texture
5) Pour off water
6) Mix cooked pasta with a bit of butter
7) Add in brie and stir until melted
8) Add in pesto; completely coat the pasta
9) Add tomatoes and stir again to mix

I recommend enjoying this with some sparkling wine, as the bubbles and the tartness of the wine suit the strong flavor of the cheese. Sparkling water or beer also work well (we paired this with Blue Moon's Summer Wheat).

1 comment:

Richard Yarnell said...

First time on your site and find we think alike.

I'm reading Louise Penney's Armand Gamache novel _The Long Way Home_ in which Armand has a Brie and Pesto pasta. My wife will do almost anything for pesto and it's high summer in Oregon. So, before I found your site, I brought home that same wheel of brie from Costco. The Basil is flourishing. We use it fresh first and then, like you, I make huge batches (basil, garlic, EVO, and pine nuts (but no cheese), freeze it in ice cube trays (which I decant into freezer bags for more efficient storage). A single cube is a reasonable portion. Cheese added as a fresh dusting when served.

Anyway, thanks for confirming that Ms Penny didn't make up the dish, for confirming that freshly boiled pasta will melt the presumably rind-less brie, and that no other embellishment is required.