What a fabulous way to use up those veggies that are almost at a point of no return! Sweet, roasted & caramelised veggies turned into a gorgeous pesto that would be perfectly good on its own. With a family full of meatetarians like mine, the addition of spicy chorizo and salty olives really ‘beefed’ this simple mid week pasta to outstanding new heights that is now top of the list!
Prep time: 20 Minutes Cooking time: 45 Minutes $ Low Budget
For the Pesto:
2 baby or 1/2 a large eggplant, chopped into 2cm cubes
1 zucchini, quartered lengthways and chopped
1/2 a red capsicum, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 punnet of assorted grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (red is fine)
3 cloves of garlic, skin on and bruised
1 tsp of chilli flakes
1 bunch of basil, leaves picked and stalks discarded
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts (optional)
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and cracked pepper
For the pasta:
500gm of spaghetti
2 chorizo sausages, diced
1 cup of pitted kalamata olives, halved
50gm bag of baby rocket leaves
1 cup of reserved pasta water
Freshly grated parmesan to serve
Pre heat the oven to 200°C. Place the chopped veggies and whole garlic cloves in a baking tray and sprinkle with chilli flakes and season generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle over half the olive oil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until tender and caramelised. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Once cooled, squeeze the garlic out of the skins and place it and the veggies in a food processor along with the basil, parmesan, pine nuts and lemon juice. Pop the lid on and blitz, pouring the remainder of the oil in, in a steady stream until you have a nice pesto like consistency. Have a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti for approximately 12 minutes until al dente`. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the starchy liquid.
While the spaghetti is cooking heat a large frypan and fry the chorizo until golden. Add the olives and half the pesto (it makes a large quantity so you can freeze the other half for later use) and fry for about 1 minute. Add the rocket and half the pasta water to the pesto mix along with the drained spaghetti and over the heat, using a couple of spoons, toss the spaghetti right through the pesto mixture so that every little strand is coated. If the mixture looks a little thick, add the rest of the pasta water a little at a time until it is nice and moist but not too wet.
To serve, divide between four serving bowls (or five and keep one aside for lunch) and sprinkle generously with some freshly grated parmesan. Top with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil if you so desire!