I am thrilled to be able to present you with this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe, because Ellie Krieger herself has chosen it for us! That's right. Somehow Ellie managed to find out about our little blogging group, and she kindly offered to share with us a new dish that she has come up with. Needless to say, we jumped on it and it was placed on the rotation for this week.
The dish, Whole Grain Spaghetti with Roasted Tomato and Almond Pesto (or whole grain rotini, which is what I used), is definitely one of Ellie's best, at least in our opinion! Not only is it packed with flavor and nutrition, but it's absolutely, uniquely delicious and so very easy to make! As you are boiling some water for pasta, you can easily assemble the pesto sauce. It starts out with some toasted almonds and a clove of garlic, which are chopped finely in a food processor.
Meanwhile, you slow-roast about 6 tomatoes in the oven (Ellie also presents the option of using a can of diced, fire-roasted tomatoes), which makes the tomatoes' flavor concentrate and become tangy-sweet. Sooo, sooo good. After they have roasted, into the food processor they go, along with some fresh basil, red wine vinegar, and crushed red pepper flakes.
You blend in some olive oil, then add salt to taste. What I could not get over at this point was how creamy the sauce became. I suppose if I had not processed the ingredients too much, I could have had a chunkier pesto, but I happen to like it the way it turned out. It wasn't completely smooth; there were still little nut pieces and basil flecks, which gave the sauce a great texture. Finally, you throw in some Parmesan cheese and gently pulse to combine. That's it for the sauce.
I was about 97% faithful to the original recipe. I did use rotini instead of spaghetti, and I also reduced the olive oil by 1 Tbsp. (I used 2 instead of the recommended 3) and bumped up the red wine vinegar from 1 tsp. to 4 tsp. I do like things tart, and this made it slightly more so. Finally, I served the pasta on a bed of fresh spinach, just to plump up the bowls a bit. Overall, we absolutely loved, loved, loved this dish! Even my son, who routinely gives me trouble at dinnertime, inhaled this and declared it "really good!" That's a huge compliment from him!
So, Ellie, if you're reading this, thanks so much for this wonderful recipe! I can hardly wait to make it again (and again). And if you have any other new recipes lying around that you want us to try, please don't hesitate to share! I hope the other ladies in the group had as much fun making, and eating, this as I did! You can find this recipe on our main CEIMB site, here. That's also where you will find the blogroll, so do stop by if you get a chance!