chunky pesto sauce

May 31, 2010 at 2:22 pm 2 comments

Bit of a disclaimer on this one – I made this up. It’s not actually pesto at all. Basically, it’s a sort of a ragu (only not really), with traditional pesto ingredients thrown in to tie it all together. Make sense so far? Good.

If you love the flavors of italian sausage, peppers, and onions, but also really love a good tomato sauce and a good pesto sauce, then this is the answer to all of your sauce-based prayers and postulations. It truly covers all of those bases.

Keep in mind that I’m using the term “sauce” loosely here. It’s really more of a…topping. There won’t be much in the way of liquid involved – but that’s ok, I promise – because it will still mingle deliciously with your pasta. The vegetables will reduce down and their juices will combine with the olive oil and it will look something like this.

I love it with gnocchi, but I love everything with gnocchi. I made this to share with mom on a recent house/pet/babysitting adventure, and we actually ate the leftovers rolled up inside crepes. Not at all a bad use for it either.

Also want to thank my aunt and uncle for allowing me free reign over their beautiful new kitchen for a week. In case you couldn’t tell that these pictures were obviously not taken in my less-than-marginally-attractive-or-practical one. Hopefully it wasn’t any worse for wear after I manhandled (womanhandled? ladyhandled.) it.

Chunky pesto sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more as needed to prevent sticking and increase liquid content of sauce (I used approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup total)
  • 2 Italian sausage links (any will work, but we used a poultry version)
  • 1 bell pepper, from the warm side of the color wheel, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced (or approximately one spoonful of the jarred version)
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • pasta of choice, cooked as directed
  • feta or parmesan cheese, to taste

In a medium or large frying pan, over medium heat, squeeze sausages out of their casings and begin browning, breaking them apart with a spatula as they cook. If you use pork sausage, you will probably want to drain the fat as it cooks (I didn’t have much with the turkey/chicken sausage we used, so I just let it be and used a bit less olive oil). Once it’s mostly broken apart, but not entirely cooked, add the chopped pepper and sauté until they begin to soften and darken, approximately 3 minutes. Add the onion, tomato, and garlic; continue stirring until all vegetables are tender, and the tomato has reduced to a near-liquid state*.

Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer gently while you cook the pasta as directed.

Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over low heat (keep an eye on them – once they start browning, they’ll do so quickly and are easy to burn). Once the pasta is cooked and drained, stir the pine nuts and basil into the sauce. Serve immediately. Garnish with feta or parmesan cheese.

*this and the additional olive oil added to prevent vegetable-to-pan stickage will be the base of the sauce, you shouldn’t need additional liquid. However, a little red wine would be an excellent addition.


Entry filed under: Guinea-pigged. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

lemon lime pound cake leftover french fry frittata

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mary Sue  |  May 31, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I recognize a few things in that photo! Pretty cool!

  • 2. Mary Sue  |  May 31, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Oh, and I’d love for you to have free reign over my kitchen any time you’d like it. And I’d even like to be home while you’re doing it.


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