Classic pesto pasta

PARMA-PESTO-PASTA
Simplicity done brilliantly, this slice of Italy can be made fast and eaten even faster. Magnifico!

Serves 4
Ingredients
300g (10oz) pasta shapes
2 tbsp olive oil
24 cherry tomatoes, halved
15g (1/2oz) pine nuts, lightly toasted
8-12 slices Parma Ham
Basil leaves, to garnish

For the pesto sauce:
25g (1oz) pine nuts, lightly toasted
1 garlic clove, crushed
50g (2oz) fresh basil leaves, torn into shreds
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method
1 First make the pesto sauce. Put the pine nuts, garlic, basil leaves and 2 tbsp olive oil into a mortar and pound with a pestle to form a rough paste. Add the Parmesan cheese and pour in the remaining olive oil, stirring to combine.
2 Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, lightly salted water for about 10-12 minutes until just tender, or cook according to pack instructions.
3 Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the cherry tomatoes until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts.
4 Drain the pasta, return it to the saucepan and stir in the pesto sauce. Share it between 4 warmed plates and top each portion with 2 to 3 slices of Parma Ham. Serve, garnished with fresh basil leaves.
Cook’s tip: For a short cut, make the pesto sauce in a food processor. Use at once or store in the refrigerator in a screw-topped jar for up to 2 weeks. For a change, make the pesto with toasted almonds instead of pine nuts.

Recipe courtesy of Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma. Image courtesy of Steve Lee Images.

 

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