Quick Pesto Cellentani

This is the pasta content you have been craving! Ok, maybe just the pasta content I have been craving. Anyways, this dish is a favorite for me. I have really been into pasta without meat lately, keeping a strong focus on fresh produce and herbs to create flavorful, yet hearty sauces. A great pasta dish does not require a lot of ingredients, and this recipe proves that. The mushrooms, pesto and tomato come together to provide the perfect trio. Make sure you use strong pasta that will soak up the sauce, such as the cellentani or rigatoni. You do not need to make fresh pesto. Fresh is great, but pesto from a jar is quick and can be just as tasty. Most importantly, serve your pasta at room temperature. For those that require their food to be steaming hot, look away. I am a true believer that pasta is best when served lukewarm. Just trust me on this.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
½ 1b of dry cellentani pasta (1 ⅛ cups)
6 oz sliced white button mushrooms
3-4 oz jarred or fresh pesto (6-8 tablespoons)
1 large tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp butter
Handful of fresh basil, chopped
Grated parmesan (for topping)
Salt and pepper

In a large kettle bring salty water to a boil. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to help keep the pasta from sticking together.

In a separate pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add in mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes. Add in the minced garlic and continue to saute for another minute.

Once, water has reached a boil, add your pasta and cooking until al dente.

Add in chopped tomatoes to your mushroom mixture while continuing to saute. Add half of your pesto. Once pasta is cooked, take a slotted spoon and move pasta directly from the kettle to your sauce. Reserve 1-2 tablespoons of the pasta water.

Add in the second half of your pesto, fresh basil, 1 tbsp of butter and reserved pasta water. Continue to saute pasta, allowing sauce to thicken and noodles to become completely covered. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Plate your pasta and garnish with parmesan cheese and more fresh basil. Let cool to room temp before eating…trust me!

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