Cheesy Pesto Pasta

When the evenings are getting darker and a little colder, I find the children are requesting more hot teas and suppers.Pan fried sandwiches, homemade pizzas and quesadillas are all among their favourites. I'm lucky that my kids love their mealtimes and if they had their way they would have me cooking another big meal for them at teatime. I understand their gra for food as I spend most of the day thinking about food myself!! However after cooking full dinners in the middle of the day I like to chose a supper that doesn't require too much effort.
This is one dish that can be rustled up in 15minutes, making it a perfect tea or supper. I love basil and incorporate it into many dishes hence this is a flavour that the children are accustomed to and really enjoy in their meals. A good quality basil pesto is an essential fridge ingredient. It can be added to dishes when fresh herbs aren't to hand, it's delicious drizzled over a salad and it can also be added to roasted or stir fried vegetables. There are endless uses for this little jar of goodness but I find we use it most as a main ingredient with pasta, which comes in very handy as a super speedy supper. For this dish I've added some other convenient ingredients,which are always to be found in my fridge and press. Feel free to leave out some of these and substitute with some of your own favoured ingredients. Cooked chicken, bacon or prawns would make this a more substantial meal however as I'm serving it as a quick fix supper I'm not adding them here. I love the addition of the creamy feta and flavoursome Parmesan which slowly melt when stirred into the pasta and for a little extra crunch I like to add some pinenuts, that I normally toast on a dry pan for a minute to enhance their flavour. Garlic Bread would make a nice accompaniment to this dish but I normally just serve it in a bowl with a fork and a gentle reminder that the kitchen is now closed till 7.30am!

Cheesy Pesto Pasta

300g spaghetti
3tbsp basil pesto
80g feta cheese
50g parmesan cheese{plus a little extra for serving}
100g sun-blushed tomatoes, chopped
100g black or green olives
50g pine nuts, toasted
freshly ground pepper

1. Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions on the pack.
2. Drain the spaghetti leaving a few tbsp of the cooking water in the saucepan. Return the spaghetti to the saucepan.
3. On a low heat add the pesto, grate in the parmesan and crumble in the feta. Stir well to combine.
4. Take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the tomatoes and olives. Season with a few grinds of black pepper.
5. Divide into serving bowls. Sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and top with a little grated parmesan. Enjoy!

I absolutely love to receive edible gifts and this was one of the nicest that I've got in a long time. Nick comes to our family on his holidays every couple of months and is such a big part of our lives. Nick has cerebral palsy and he has lived with the Camphill Community in Callan for the past 21 years. A wonderful group of people live and work in Camphill. Nick is now living at The Workhouse in Callan and the house parents are Stephan and Sara. They are such lovely people and Nick loves them to bits! He's a very happy young man and his good humour is addictive. Our house is always full of laughter when Nick is staying.

The boys love the flavour of Basil and here is Fionn making some pesto.


Sue/the view from great island said...

Your photo is so tempting, I can just taste this pasta. You are right that a great pesto so important to have on hand, the trouble I have is finding one, especially in the winter when I can't get fresh basil. I really don't like the commercially made ones I find at the store. I need a Nick in my life!

Nessa Robins said...

Thanks Sue. It's so easy to make pesto and it tastes so good I find I normally just make my own. Nick is wonderful alright :)

Rolling Pin Claire said...

Looks amazing Nessa. I love the fact that your kids are happy to help and try something new. Mine have panic attacks if I try to introduce any new food to them!

Brownieville Girl said...

It is wonderful that Nick has such a welcoming home to visit regularly - and what a prefect hostess gift to bring!

I usually make a plain old pesto pasta - love your additions.

Nessa Robins said...

It can be a tricky process Claire! I generally just plate up a dish to the kiddies, some of it will be eaten and other bits left to the side. Usually when they see an older cousin trying something new they'll give it a try. Lots of our dishes are now called after a 'cool' family member or a tv character! Crazy I know but it has worked, esp on one fussy little man :)
Thanks for visiting Brownieville Girl. Well actually this just evolved from our plain pesto pasta. There are really so many combinations that would work in this dish.

Sheila Kiely said...

Home-made pesto is amazing. Fresh basil is just one of those smells that makes me go Wow and inhale deeply every time. Looks delicious.