I decided to make this pasta dish for dinner a few days ago after watching Giada De Laurentiis make it on her cooking show. ‘Giada at Home’ is one of my favorite shows to watch on The Food Channel – I love how she uses simple, fresh ingredients, and most of the things she makes can be made in 30 minutes or less. This particular recipe took only 20 minutes to make and it was delicious! It’s a simple vegetarian pasta dish with a sauce that is very similar to pesto. The sauce is filled with flavors that I love – basil, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, olives and lemon. It’s the perfect meal to make on a busy weeknight, and the leftovers are excellent for lunch the next day too. The linguine would also be great topped with grilled boneless skinless chicken. I am already planning to make this again very soon!
Linguine with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Olives, and Lemon
- 1 pound linguine pasta
- 1 cup (6 ounces) chopped or julienned sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 1 cup (4 ounces) medium green Italian olives, pitted
- 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- Juice of half of a lemon
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place the pasta in a large serving bowl.
- In a food processor, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, basil, garlic, oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Pulse until blended but still a little chunky.
- Add the Parmesan cheese to the pasta and toss well. Pour the tomato mixture on top and toss until the pasta is coated. If the sauce is dry, add some of the reserved pasta water and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Source: Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
I came up with the idea to make these sandwiches after seeing grilled vegetable sandwiches featured on my sister’s cooking blog a few weeks ago. Her sandwiches had grilled vegetables, ricotta cheese, and balsamic vinegar. I don’t care for ricotta cheese, but basil pesto seemed like the perfect substitute to go with the grilled vegetables. I also added some mozzarella cheese to give the sandwiches another layer of flavor. For the vegetables, I used a colorful mixture of zucchini, yellow summer squash, and roasted red peppers, but you could also use eggplant or portabello mushrooms. I served these sandwiches on fresh grilled ciabatta bread and they were delicious! For a side dish, we had fresh strawberries and pineapple, and it was the perfect Spring dinner.
Pan-Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches with Basil Pesto and Mozzarella
- 2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into ¼ – inch thick slices
- 2 yellow squashes, sliced lengthwise into ¼ – inch thick slices
- 2 red peppers, roasted (for instructions, click here) or 2 roasted red peppers from a jar
- 8-12 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup Basil Pesto (recipe below)
- Loaf of ciabatta bread
- Brush both sides of the sliced zucchini and yellow squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Heat a grill pan over medium- high heat and brush lightly with olive oil.
- Working in batches, grill the zucchini and squash until they are tender and grill marks appear, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the veggies from the pan and set aside.
- Slice the loaf of ciabatta bread into 4 pieces and cut each piece in half lengthwise. Lightly brush the bread with olive oil and then grill for 3-4 minutes until the bread is toasty.
- To assemble the sandwiches: Spread a layer of pesto on each side of the sliced bread. Top with mozzarella cheese, and then layer slices of the grilled zucchini, squash, and roasted red peppers on top. Place the top half of the ciabatta bread on top of the grilled vegetables and serve.
Yield: 4 servings
Yield: 1 cup pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup (approximately) extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a food processor or blender, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt & pepper until finely chopped.
- With the food processor still running, gradually add enough oil to form a smooth and thick consistency.
- Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl and stir in ½ cup of Parmesan cheese. Season the pesto with more salt and pepper, to taste.
Source: Sandwiches inspired by Kristine’s Kitchen & Giada De Laurentiis; Pesto recipe from the cookbook ‘Giada’s Family Dinners’