Sourdough Gnocchetti Sardi with Basil Pesto Sauce

Like a lazy summer in a bowl, this creamy basil pesto sauce has extra creaminess and flavor from the addition of soft cultured dairy. Serve it with your favorite homemade pasta for a true summer treat! Everyone knows and loves pesto, and you probably already have a go-to recipe. But this one is putting up […]

The post Sourdough Gnocchetti Sardi with Basil Pesto Sauce first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

Like a lazy summer in a bowl, this creamy basil pesto sauce has extra creaminess and flavor from the addition of soft cultured dairy. Serve it with your favorite homemade pasta for a true summer treat!

Everyone knows and loves pesto, and you probably already have a go-to recipe. But this one is putting up stiff competition: with a perfect proportion of bright green basil, pine nuts, oil, and a mix of 3 kinds of cheese, it’s definitely a contender for your new favorite pesto.

Two black bowls with homemade gnochetti with pesto sauce, black utensils and basil leaves

Basil just tastes like summer.

Whether sliced into ribbons and sprinkled over a slice of juicy tomato, or blanched and blended into the perfect pesto, basil is undeniably one of summer’s best flavors.

By August, our patio basil plant is overflowing its pot, with lush, green leaves the size of my hand and the petite white flowers that I can hardly pinch back fast enough.

Which is why this is the perfect time of year for gloriously big batches of pesto.

In fact, when my basil starts to bolt I’ll often hack it down to the roots, using the entire plant in a triple batch of pesto that I’ll freeze for later, and replant a fresh young basil plant that will last easily last me through to the fall. This year I may even try to keep a fresh basil plant going through the winter in my kitchen window (it’s on the shady side of the house so I’ve never had much luck before, but I’m determined to persevere).

Overhead, shallow black pasta bowl with homemade gnochetti sardi in pesto sauce, with linen, grated cheese and basil leaves

This pesto sauce is slightly different from your typical pesto, in that it adds a little bit of Prescinsêua cheese, a soft cultured cheese from the Ligurian region of Italy. I haven’t been able to find it locally, but luckily Greek yogurt or ricotta, or a mix of the two, works just as well. I love the added creaminess it gives the sauce, and the barest hint of tang from the culture pairs beautifully with the subtle notes of sourdough in the pasta.

The recipe comes from the Pasta Grannies cookbook, one of my new favorites. It’s the next best thing to actually having an Italian grandmother.

In the book, this basil sauce is served with fresh steamed green beans and homemade trofie pasta (and if you want to make sourdough trofie, by all means go for it!) I opted for gnochetti sardi since I find it much easier to make.

I’ve scaled down the pesto sauce just a bit, and added the extra step of blanching the basil (because that older, end-of-summer basil can often have a harsh bite to it that isn’t ideal).

Closeup, homemade gnochetti sardi pasta with bright green pesto sauce and grated pecorino, in a black bowl with matte black fork Metal strainer pouring freshly cooked gnochetti sardi into a bowl spread with pesto sauce Stirring freshly cooked pasta in a bowl with pesto sauce

Rather than tossing the pesto with the cooked pasta in the big pot (that’s a total pain to clean up later), I spoon a bit of pesto sauce into each serving bowl, and put the freshly drained pasta right on top. The residual water on the pasta will help loosen the pesto, making for a smooth, even coating.

Italians are very intentional with their pasta shapes, choosing a shape that best serves the sauce. These gnochetti sardi, similar to the original trofie called for in this recipe, do a great job at holding on to the bits of pesto in the grooves and swirls of the pasta shape. Whereas something like fettuccine, with a smoother texture, would have a harder time sticking and you’d end up with less sauce per bite.

Gnochetti with bright green pesto sauce in black ceramic bowls and black forks on a gray background

Blanch your Basil

Blanching basil gives the pesto a brighter green color and a cleaner flavor, and makes the pesto less prone to oxidizing (meaning it won’t turn brown the second it touches the air).

Unless you have a bumper crop of young basil, I highly recommend taking the extra minute and blanching your basil first. You can even use the same pot of boiling water you’ll be using for your pasta! After about 20 seconds, fish out the basil using a slotted spoon or mesh skimmer and place it in a bath of ice water to stop the cooking process. Once it’s cool enough to handle, grab the blanched basil, squeeze out any excess water, and then place it in the blender or food processor to make your pesto.

I personally found the blender to work the best for this recipe, although the pesto can get a bit thick (in which case just add a splash of pasta water and it should ease it along). But you can also use a food processor here too.

Closeup, overhead bowl of gnochetti sardi with pesto sauce and fork

The pesto sauce recipe makes enough for about 4 servings of pasta. You can use the homemade sourdough pasta recipe I posted earlier this week (in the shape of your choice), or swap in your favorite fresh or dried pasta instead.

If you have leftover pesto, it keeps well in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days (the top may discolor just a little bit but not nearly as much as if the basil weren’t blanched).

Pesto is also easily frozen, so if you find yourself swimming in basil, feel free to double or even triple this recipe. Whatever you don’t use right away, just spoon into a zip-top bag and seal. Label, and freeze the bag flat to make for neat storage. Then you’ll have a stash of summery pesto to help brighten even the dreariest winter day.

Sourdough Gnocchetti Sardi with Basil Pesto Sauce

Sourdough Gnocchetti Sardi with Basil Pesto Sauce

Your new favorite pesto recipe is here: with a perfect proportion of bright green basil, pine nuts, oil, cheese, and a bit of extra creaminess and flavor from the addition of soft cultured dairy.

Ingredients:

  • 75g fresh basil leaves
  • 40g grated parmesan
  • 20g grated pecorino, plus more for topping
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 plump garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (can also use ricotta cheese)
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) good extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 400g fresh homemade pasta (or 12oz of dried pasta of your choice), cooked as instructed

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath by filling a bowl with cold water and ice.
  2. Blanch basil in boiling water for 20 seconds, then quickly transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking. This extra step of blanching the basil will result in a brighter green color, a cleaner flavor, and help prevent the pesto from oxidizing. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out the excess water.
  3. If using whole blocks of cheese, cut into pieces and place them right in the blender or food processor, then pulse until finely grated. If you are grating extra cheese for topping, do this first, then spoon out the extra cheese and set aside.
  4. Add pine nuts, garlic and yogurt to blender along with blanched and drained basil. Pulse until coarsely chopped, then add olive oil and blend until smooth. If pesto is too thick, add a splash or two of pasta water to help thin it out. Taste, then season with salt and pepper as desired (the cheeses are salty enough you may not need to add extra).
  5. Smear a generous spoonful of pesto in the bottom of each serving bowl. Using a large slotted spoon or mesh skimmer, remove pasta from water and place directly into bowls on top of pesto (it’s ok if they are not drained dry, the extra bit of water will help the loosen the pesto and coat the pasta easier). Toss to coat. Top with a bit of grated cheese, if desired, and serve warm.

Adapted from Pasta Grannies.

All images and text © Lindsay Landis /

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Classic Pesto Recipe

Classic Pesto Recipe
A recipe for classic pesto sauce made with fresh basil and only five ingredients; use it for pasta, chicken salad, a spread on sandwiches, or pizza!
READ: Classic Pesto Recipe

A close up of a white bowl filled with fresh pesto with a silver spoon in the right side of the bowl.

Classic Pesto Recipe

A recipe for classic pesto sauce made with fresh basil and only five ingredients; use it for pasta, chicken salad, a spread on sandwiches, or pizza!

READ: Classic Pesto Recipe

Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Green Olives

Broccoli, pesto, and green olives—believe it! This pasta recipe tastes so fresh. It’s perfectly suited for springtime dinners, though I think you’ll want to keep it in…

The post Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Green Olives appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

broccoli pesto pasta recipe

Broccoli, pesto, and green olives—believe it! This pasta recipe tastes so fresh. It’s perfectly suited for springtime dinners, though I think you’ll want to keep it in your repertoire for the rest of the year.

I wouldn’t have come up with this pasta combination myself, so I’m glad I found the recipe in my friend Kelly Senyei’s new cookbook, The Secret Ingredient Cookbook. You might know Kelly from her blog, Just a Taste. Kelly is a delightful person, a professionally trained chef and a hard-working mom to three boys, all under the age of five.

broccoli pesto pasta ingredients

Kelly’s new cookbook offers 125 family-friendly recipes with fun secret ingredient twists. I don’t want to spoil all the surprises, but I’m looking forward to trying the Caesar pasta salad (with avocado), Greek chopped salad (with halloumi cheese), 30-minute mac and cheese (with pumpkin) and mushroom ravioli with brown butter sauce (with goat cheese, and made entirely from scratch). And good gracious, wait until you see the desserts.

This broccoli pesto pasta recipe includes green olives as the secret ingredient. They offer a delicious briny olive flavor and cover up the flavor of the broccoli. She says her boys absolutely love this dish, so this dish is designed for the whole family. I found some ricotta in my fridge and really enjoyed a few dollops over my bowl. Serve it as you please!

Continue to the recipe...

The post Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Green Olives appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

Vegan Pesto

This article is from Delicious Everyday.
You only need 5 minutes to make this Vegan Pesto! This vegan pesto sauce is flavored with olive oil, basil, and—of course—some garlic. Toss this pesto with some pasta, serve it with tofu, and more! …

This article is from Delicious Everyday.

You only need 5 minutes to make this Vegan Pesto! This vegan pesto sauce is flavored with olive oil, basil, and—of course—some garlic. Toss this pesto with some pasta, serve it with tofu, and more! If you want a homemade vegan pesto sauce, I highly recommend this recipe. Go grab that food processor, and whip...

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Spiced Kefta

Persian food, like many of the foods from a region that’s often broadly referred to as the Middle East, takes cues from a variety of influences and cultures as people traverse borders and bring their delicious foods with them. Which is why the food in America is so diverse; people have gifted us with foods from their homelands, such as tacos, sushi, pizza, beer, and…

Persian food, like many of the foods from a region that’s often broadly referred to as the Middle East, takes cues from a variety of influences and cultures as people traverse borders and bring their delicious foods with them. Which is why the food in America is so diverse; people have gifted us with foods from their homelands, such as tacos, sushi, pizza, beer, and bagels. Similarly, France has been blessed to have beans for cassoulet, chocolat chaud (hot chocolate), and croissants.

As a cook, I like dipping into various cuisines and cultures and lately, I’ve been working on Tahdig, a Persian rice dish that’s cooked on the stovetop until the bottom gets crusty, which can take an hour or longer, and requires some patience. Once done, you take a leap of faith and turn it out onto a plate so the crispy part (the tahdig) forms a golden, crackly crown on top of a bed of fragrant, saffron-infused rice…if you do it right.

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Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Say hello to perfect roasted cauliflower soup with plenty of garlic, nutmeg, and white beans. Buttery cashews help create the ultimate velvety texture while also keeping it dairy-free. Just 10 ingredients required. Let us show you how it’s done!
How to…

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Say hello to perfect roasted cauliflower soup with plenty of garlic, nutmeg, and white beans. Buttery cashews help create the ultimate velvety texture while also keeping it dairy-free. Just 10 ingredients required. Let us show you how it’s done!

How to Make Roasted Cauliflower Soup

This cauliflower soup starts with roasting the onions, garlic, and cauliflower to lightly caramelize them and add natural sweetness. Roasting the garlic also tames its bitterness and allows for adding more of its savory, immune-supportive goodness.

Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Soup from Minimalist Baker →

Pesto Salmon

Bright green basil pesto is a natural fit with baked fish! This pesto salmon is an easy weeknight meal that also works to impress guests. Ready for the perfect zingy sauce to add life to baked salmon? Try this pesto salmon! Bright green pesto goes hand in hand with tender baked fish to make a stunning dinner. Because really: what isn’t better with a little pesto on top? It’s mid-summer here and we’re making all the pesto with our overactive basil plant. The savory, garlicky sauce makes the flaky fish pop: you’ll already be taking your second bite before finishing the first. It’s easy enough for a weeknight, but impressive enough to serve to guests. This one went over very well in our house. Here’s what to know! Use homemade pesto if you can…but purchased works This pesto salmon is best with…you guessed it, homemade pesto! Now, we know it’s not always that you have access to loads of fresh basil. But the flavor of freshly made basil pesto is so good, you’ll want to make it if at all possible. Here are a few things to know: Make a half recipe of our basil pesto. This way, you don’t […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Bright green basil pesto is a natural fit with baked fish! This pesto salmon is an easy weeknight meal that also works to impress guests.

Pesto salmon

Ready for the perfect zingy sauce to add life to baked salmon? Try this pesto salmon! Bright green pesto goes hand in hand with tender baked fish to make a stunning dinner. Because really: what isn’t better with a little pesto on top? It’s mid-summer here and we’re making all the pesto with our overactive basil plant. The savory, garlicky sauce makes the flaky fish pop: you’ll already be taking your second bite before finishing the first. It’s easy enough for a weeknight, but impressive enough to serve to guests. This one went over very well in our house. Here’s what to know!

Use homemade pesto if you can…but purchased works

This pesto salmon is best with…you guessed it, homemade pesto! Now, we know it’s not always that you have access to loads of fresh basil. But the flavor of freshly made basil pesto is so good, you’ll want to make it if at all possible. Here are a few things to know:

  • Make a half recipe of our basil pesto. This way, you don’t need as much basil: just 1 cup of basil leaves.
  • You can use cashews or walnuts. Traditional pesto is made with pine nuts, but they can be expensive or hard to find. Using other nuts works too! Our favorite is cashew pesto, or try this walnut pesto.
  • Or, find the best quality purchased brand. Here’s the thing about storebought pesto: the quality varies widely. Some pestos taste flat and dull, some are overly salty. So experiment until you find one you love!

Tip for baked pesto salmon: brine it first!

Here’s a little trick we’ve used to great success. Brine your salmon before baking! What’s brining? Brining is letting your salmon sit in a brine solution before baking. This makes for perfectly moist salmon, and it helps the salmon come to room temperature which makes it cook more evenly. It also cuts down on the white stuff (see below). Even better: it doesn’t take any extra time! You can do it while the oven preheats. Here’s how to brine salmon:

  • Mix up a salt water solution. In a large dish, stir 4 cups of water with 3 tablespoons salt to make a salt water solution.
  • Place the fish in the water for 15 minutes. You can do this in the time it takes to preheat your oven: so there’s no time lost!

What’s the white stuff on cooked salmon?

What’s that gooey white stuff that sometimes appears on the surface of the fish after it’s cooked? Good news: it’s perfectly normal! The white stuff is coagulated protein that seeps to the surface while baking, called albumin. The amount of albumin varies greatly depending on the fish, so it’s not something you can control. (Read more here.) It’s safe to eat, but it does look less than appetizing on top of a beautiful fillet. Here are a few ways to reduce the albumin when you cook salmon:

  • Cook it at a lower temperature to cook it more gently (325 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Brine the salmon in a salt and water solution before baking
Pesto salmon

How to garnish pesto salmon

The presentation is the fun part, right? This pesto salmon looks just lovely on a plate. Here’s what to know about the presentation:

  • Add the pesto after baking. This keeps it beautifully moist and bright green.
  • Add chopped and toasted pine nuts as a garnish. These look lovely, and they have a unique flavor. Make sure to toast the pine nuts before using them: it accentuates the flavor in a way where you’ll taste the difference.
  • Lemon zest adds brightness. Zest helps brighten the flavors; you’ll already have a lemon onhand if you make homemade pesto. If using storebought pesto, it can be a nice way to revive the flavors.

Buying sustainable salmon

Want to buy the most sustainable fish you can? Here are a few pointers when you’re looking at salmon at the grocery store:

  • Look for wild-caught fish if possible. Wild-caught fish is more sustainable than farmed.
  • Find US caught (if you’re in the US). 90% of the seafood we eat in the US is imported. Imported seafood runs the risk of being overfished, caught under unfair labor practices, or farmed in environmentally harmful ways.
Pesto salmon

Sides to serve with pesto salmon

This pesto salmon makes an easy, healthy dinner recipe: great for weeknights in and when you’re entertaining guests! How to make it into a meal? Because you’ll have the oven occupied for the salmon, here are a few ideas for side dishes that are oven-free:

This pesto recipe is…

Gluten-free and pescatarian. For dairy free, use Vegan Pesto.

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Pesto salmon

Easy Pesto Salmon


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Bright green basil pesto is a natural fit with baked fish! This pesto salmon is an easy weeknight meal that also works to impress guests.


Ingredients

  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets or a large 1 1/2 pound fillet, wild caught if possible
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for brining
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto (homemade preferable)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted and chopped pine nuts
  • A few grates of lemon zest, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Brine the salmon: While the oven preheats, in a shallow dish stir together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt until it dissolves. Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes (this should be about the time it takes to preheat).
  3. Bake: Rub the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil. Pat each piece of salmon dry and place it on the pan. Sprinkle the salmon with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt for each of the 4 fillets and fresh ground pepper. Cover pan with foil and bake the salmon for 10 minutes. Then remove the foil bake again for 3 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness, until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the center). A 1-inch thick fillet should cook in about 15 minutes total.
  4. Serve: When the salmon is done, spoon the pesto over the salmon. Sprinkle it with chopped pine nuts and if desired, a bit of lemon zest. Serve immediately. (Leftovers can be stored refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.)

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: Pesto salmon

More recipes with pesto

Got lots of basil? Let’s make everything pesto! Here are some of our favorite meals starring this bright green sauce:

  • Pesto Spaghetti or Pesto Cavatappi The trick to getting the creamiest pesto pasta evenly covered in silky sauce! Make it with homemade or purchased basil pesto for a fast dinner.
  • Shrimp Pesto Pasta An impressively fast and easy dinner recipe! Cover the noodles in glistening green basil pesto for a meal that pleases everyone.
  • Pesto Cream Sauce This 5-minute pesto cream sauce is genius: just simmer pesto and cream until a thick sauce forms!
  • Easy Pesto Shrimp A dinnertime win! Savory basil pesto is a natural pairing with juicy shrimp; serve with pasta or rice for an easy dinner idea.
  • Pesto Aioli Full of incredible basil and Parmesan flavor! Use it for dipping fries or to slather on a burger or sandwich.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Vegan Pesto Pasta

This article is from Delicious Everyday.
This easy Vegan Pesto Pasta makes for a simple and flavorful weeknight meal. It’s bursting with fresh flavor from basil, garlic, and pine nuts. And the whole thing is ready in under 20 minutes. I don&#821…

This article is from Delicious Everyday.

This easy Vegan Pesto Pasta makes for a simple and flavorful weeknight meal. It’s bursting with fresh flavor from basil, garlic, and pine nuts. And the whole thing is ready in under 20 minutes. I don’t think anything is more comforting than a big bowl of pasta. And as a born and raised Italian I’ve...

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This content is copyrighted protected by DeliciousEveryday.com.

©2017 Delicious Everyday.

All content in this feed (including photographs and text) are copyrighted to Delicious Everyday and may not be republished in part or full without written permission and appropriate credit. Please contact me for republication or syndication rights.

If you suspect copyright infringement please contact me.

Eggplant Caponata

Caponata is an Italian appetizer that’s bursting with flavor! Eggplant and Mediterranean vegetables make a tangy, garlicky spread that’s perfect over crusty bread. Here’s a new appetizer that we’re head over heels with: caponata! What’s caponata, you ask? This Sicilian specialty is an appetizer and a side dish, essentially a sweet and sour ratatouille with cooked eggplant, tomatoes and onion. It’s often spread on crusty bread as an appetizer or antipasti (as the Italians would say). It’s so full of tangy, garlicky flavor that once you’ve taken one bite, you’ll likely want to devour the entire serving dish. So hold onto your hats! Here’s how to make Italian caponata…and then how to serve it like the Italians do. What’s in caponata? Caponata is a classic Italian eggplant dish. And like any classic dish (like potato salad or coleslaw), there are endless variations on how to make it. Alex and I researched to make sure this version has all the classic elements: and we’ve customized a bit to our personal tastes! Here’s what’s in our version of caponata: Eggplant (and it doesn’t need to be drained! see below) Red pepper, red onion and celery Garlic Canned tomatoes Olive oil Balsamic vinegar […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Caponata is an Italian appetizer that’s bursting with flavor! Eggplant and Mediterranean vegetables make a tangy, garlicky spread that’s perfect over crusty bread.

Caponata

Here’s a new appetizer that we’re head over heels with: caponata! What’s caponata, you ask? This Sicilian specialty is an appetizer and a side dish, essentially a sweet and sour ratatouille with cooked eggplant, tomatoes and onion. It’s often spread on crusty bread as an appetizer or antipasti (as the Italians would say). It’s so full of tangy, garlicky flavor that once you’ve taken one bite, you’ll likely want to devour the entire serving dish. So hold onto your hats! Here’s how to make Italian caponata…and then how to serve it like the Italians do.

What’s in caponata?

Caponata is a classic Italian eggplant dish. And like any classic dish (like potato salad or coleslaw), there are endless variations on how to make it. Alex and I researched to make sure this version has all the classic elements: and we’ve customized a bit to our personal tastes! Here’s what’s in our version of caponata:

  • Eggplant (and it doesn’t need to be drained! see below)
  • Red pepper, red onion and celery
  • Garlic
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar and sugar to balance tangy and sweet
  • Capers to add briny, salty flavor
  • Fresh basil and pine nuts, to garnish
Caponata (Eggplant Dish)

Some other additions you’ll see in some versions: green olives to add even more briny flavor, and golden raisins to add more sweet. We nixed both in flavor of a straightforward, classic caponata: but you can certainly add them if you’d like! (I’d love to add the golden raisins, but Alex is less of a salty-sweet person than I am!)

No need to salt and drain the eggplant!

If you’ve cooked with eggplant before, you’ll know: many eggplant recipes call for letting it drain with salt on it for 1 hour to extract some of the bitterness from the eggplant. If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered: is this extra step really necessary?

We did some research, and guess what? It’s not really necessary in this day and age. Per Epicurious, salting eggplant used to be conventional practice with eggplants years ago because they were more bitter. Today’s eggplants are bred to be less bitter, so there’s no need to salt them. Look: we saved you an hour!

Eggplant caponata

Toasted pine nuts = icing on the cake!

Pine nuts are traditional for topping caponata. They’re an Italian nut that, believe it or not, does come from pine trees! Because it’s so time consuming to harvest and the trees grow only in certain regions, pine nuts can be pricey. But! They’re absolutely worth it for the nutty, uniquely Italian flavor they provide. If you can’t find them, you can omit entirely (or see these substitutes).

If you do use them, follow this advice: Toast the pine nuts before you use them! Toasting the nuts on the stove or in the oven brings out their flavor in a big way: almost like using salt to bring out the flavor in a recipe! They’re not nearly as good without toasting. You’ve been warned!

Eggplant caponata

Capers enhance the salty flavor

If you’ve never cooked with capers, now’s the time! What are they? Capers are a berry of the caper bush that’s native to the Mediterranean. They’re round and dark green gray, about the size of a peppercorn. You’ll find them in Italian and Mediterranean recipes. They bring a tangy, briny and salty flavor to any dish.

Capers are served pickled, so you’ll find them in jars near the olives at the grocery story. If you pick up a joar, also try them in our Salmon with Capers, Roasted Eggplant Pasta, and Paprika Goat Cheese Spread.

Ways to serve caponata: as an appetizer or side! (Or a meal.)

Once you’ve made up a batch of caponata, now’s the fun part. Eating it! There are lots of ways to eat caponata, but probably the most common is using it to top crusty bread. Since it’s Italian in heritage, it works well with Mediterranean-style meals. Here are a few ways that we’d serve it:

  • On crusty bread or baguette slices. If you’re the baking type, try our Homemade Baguette.
  • On crostini. You can also make crunchy Crostini, essentially crackers made out of baguette, which makes more of a showy presentation.
  • On a cheese board or appetizer spread. It’s nice for an antipasto spread because it’s a rare plant-based Italian appetizer option.
  • As a side to baked or grilled fish. It would make a great side to our Salmon with Capers.
  • As a side to pasta. Try alongside Cacio e Pepe, Easy Creamy Gnocchi, or Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo.
  • In grilled cheese. Throw some in the middle of a grilled cheese sandwich and you’ve got a heavenly treat.
  • As a meal. Alex and I have split a bottle of wine with baguette, caponata, and some cheese or seasoned white beans. Perfect appetizer dinner!
Eggplant caponata

This caponata recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Print
Caponata

Eggplant Caponata


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 as an appetizer
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Caponata is an Italian appetizer bursting with flavor! Eggplant and Mediterranean vegetables make a tangy, garlicky spread that’s perfect over crusty bread. 


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant (2 medium)
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 14-ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Basil, for garnish
  • Toasted pine nuts, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut the eggplant into small cubes, about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch. Dice the celery. Slice the red onion. Dice the red bell pepper. Mince the garlic.
  2. In a Dutch oven or large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the eggplant, celery, red pepper and red onion and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook 3 to 5 minutes until the eggplant and onions are browned and softened.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar, red pepper flakes, capers, and salt. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring once, until very tender. Taste and add another pinch or two of salt. Serve warm, garnished with chopped basil and toasted pine nuts. Or, chill for up to 1 day and serve cold or at room temperature (the flavors taste even better after refrigerating). 

  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Caponata, Caponata Recipe

More with eggplant!

Eggplant is an underrated vegetable, in our opinion! Here are some more great recipes for eating it:

  • Perfect Roasted Eggplant Here’s how to make the BEST roasted eggplant! Baking until it’s tender makes for unreal flavor.
  • Roasted Eggplant Pasta This eggplant pasta is flavor-packed with roasted eggplant & zesty marinara sauce! An impressive plant based dinner, it works for weeknights or parties.
  • Eggplant Sandwich with Tomato & Pesto This Mediterranean tomato and grilled eggplant sandwich with basil pesto is seriously flavorful. It was inspired by a trip to Italy!

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

This cauliflower pasta is loaded with flavor, packed with caramelized roasted cauliflower, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil! Is there any thing better than roasted cauliflower? Over here, we can eat an entire tray in just a few minutes (oops!). So why not make it into a main dish? Meet this Roasted Cauliflower Pasta. It’s got tender, caramelized cauliflower: sweet, lemony and garlicky. Then it’s got al dente pasta that’s covered in a quick Parmesan pan sauce. Top it all off with crunchy basil breadcrumbs and toasted pine nuts and well: it’s an explosion of flavor. Here’s how to make our new favorite pasta. What’s in this cauliflower pasta? This cauliflower pasta makes the most out of its short ingredient list! You don’t need much to get big flavor. This pasta is Italian-style: in Sicilian cooking cauliflower is often paired with lemon, Parmesan and pine nuts. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe: Cauliflower: You’ll make our Perfect Roasted Cauliflower: just one head of cauliflower, olive oil, garlic and lemon zest Pasta: You can use any type of noodles (we prefer short like rigatoni, penne, etc — see below!) Breadcrumbs: The best are homemade, but you can also use plain store […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This cauliflower pasta is loaded with flavor, packed with caramelized roasted cauliflower, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil!

Cauliflower pasta

Is there any thing better than roasted cauliflower? Over here, we can eat an entire tray in just a few minutes (oops!). So why not make it into a main dish? Meet this Roasted Cauliflower Pasta. It’s got tender, caramelized cauliflower: sweet, lemony and garlicky. Then it’s got al dente pasta that’s covered in a quick Parmesan pan sauce. Top it all off with crunchy basil breadcrumbs and toasted pine nuts and well: it’s an explosion of flavor. Here’s how to make our new favorite pasta.

What’s in this cauliflower pasta?

This cauliflower pasta makes the most out of its short ingredient list! You don’t need much to get big flavor. This pasta is Italian-style: in Sicilian cooking cauliflower is often paired with lemon, Parmesan and pine nuts. Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Cauliflower: You’ll make our Perfect Roasted Cauliflower: just one head of cauliflower, olive oil, garlic and lemon zest
  • Pasta: You can use any type of noodles (we prefer short like rigatoni, penne, etc — see below!)
  • Breadcrumbs: The best are homemade, but you can also use plain store bought breadcrumbs
  • Fresh basil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Butter
  • Toasted pine nuts: they’re optional, but so good! If you can’t find them, you can substitute toasted slivered almonds, or omit them.
Cauliflower pasta

Serve with a side to make a filling meal!

One thing to note about this cauliflower pasta is that it disappears quickly! The serving size is moderate, so you’ll want to serve it with a side dish to keep the meal filling. Especially if you’re feeding hungry eaters! Here are some ideas for a filling Italian-style meal:

Roasted cauliflower

Tips on roasting cauliflower for pasta

This cauliflower pasta recipe uses our favorite method for making cauliflower: this Perfect Roasted Cauliflower. To us, this is the ultimate way to make cauliflower taste incredible. Open that tab in a separate browser while you make this pasta. Here are a few notes on the method:

  • Roasting at high heat (450 degrees). This makes for the perfect browned, caramelized cauliflower: browning is your friend!
  • Use parchment paper for easy cleanup. We always use parchment paper when roasting veggies because it makes cleanup a breeze. Avoid silicon baking mats, since they can make the vegetables mushy instead of crisp.
  • Don’t forget to add the garlic and lemon zest! This is what takes the flavoring over the top. Make sure to account for this final step while you’re following the pasta recipe.

Use any pasta shape you’d like!

You can use any pasta shape you’d like for this cauliflower pasta! We used rigatoni because we like the look. A short pasta is nice here because it makes it easy to get cauliflower and pasta in each bite. But you could use long noodles if that’s all you have! Here are some pasta types we’d recommend:

  • Short pasta: Rigatoni, penne, cavatappi, shells, gemelli
  • Long pasta: Spaghetti, bucatini, linguine
How to make bread crumbs

Some notes on breadcrumbs

The crunchy breadcrumb topping takes this cauliflower pasta over the top! Here are some notes on the breadcrumbs element:

  • Best choice: make your own! If you have leftover bread laying around, it’s as simple as whizzing it in a food processor (or blender) and baking it in a 300 degree oven to make them crispy. Go to How to Make Breadcrumbs.
  • If you use store bought, be careful about salt. Try to buy crumbs that are coarse textured, because they’ll provide the best crunch. Use crumbs without salt if at all possible. If all you can find is breadcrumbs that have added salt, use less salt when flavoring the pasta!
Cauliflower pasta

Toasted pine nuts optional

Pine nuts can be hard to find and expensive, but they add a unique flavor to this cauliflower pasta! If you can find them, they’re a nice addition. Here are a few notes on the pine nuts element:

  • Don’t skip toasting the nuts! It brings out the flavor. Make sure to go to How to Toast Pine Nuts for instructions on how to toast them! It really brings out the flavor. We taste-tasted without toasting and it was far less flavorful.
  • Omit and it’s still good. If you still want the crunch of nut, you could use Toasted Slivered Almonds. But its just as good without!

And that’s it! Let us know if you try this cauliflower pasta and what you think in the comments below.

Cauliflower pasta

This cauliflower pasta recipe is…

Vegetarian.

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Cauliflower pasta

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This cauliflower pasta is loaded with flavor, packed with caramelized roasted cauliflower, Parmesan cheese, and fresh basil!


Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Perfect Roasted Cauliflower
  • 8 ounces short pasta (rigatoni, penne, etc)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (homemade or plain store bought breadcrumbs* — see note)
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, optional

Instructions

  1. Make the cauliflower: Make the Roasted Cauliflower. When it’s done, make sure to add the garlic and lemon zest per that recipe.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Make the breadcrumbs: While the water is coming to a boil, use a large knife to chop the basil leaves together with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese until it’s finely chopped. Then place it in a bowl and combine it with the breadcrumbs.
  4. Boil the pasta: Boil the pasta until it is al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside). Reserve about 3/4 cup of the pasta water. Then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. 
  5. Season the pasta: Immediately add the butter and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or less if you’re using purchased bread crumbs with salt) stirring until it melts, then add the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese about 1/2 cup pasta water. Stir until a creamy sauce forms, adding more of the reserved pasta water if necessary (if it gums up, just keep adding pasta water and stirring until a creamy sauce forms)
  6. Assemble the pasta and serve: Stir in the roasted cauliflower to the pasta. Top with the breadcrumb topping and a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with red pepper flakes and toasted pine nuts, if using. Serve warm.

Notes

*If you can only find store bought breadcrumbs that have salt, dial back the salt in the pasta to account for this (see Step 5). 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Cauliflower Pasta

More vegetable pasta recipes

We’ve got lots more delicious vegetable-centric pasta recipes to choose from. Here are some favorites:

  • Roasted Eggplant Pasta Roasted eggplant + zesty marinara sauce! An impressive plant based dinner, it works for weeknights or parties.
  • Vegan Pasta Primavera So full of flavor! It features spaghetti with spring vegetables like asparagus, peas, spinach, and zesty lemon.
  • Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo This vegan fettuccine alfredo tastes decadent, but the creamy sauce is filled with healthy plant based ingredients…like cauliflower!

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes