Need a shortcut to a deep flavor? Go with a rich sauce like pesto.

Note: Last time I made this pasta, one of my guests said: “I usually pay 45 dollars for a plate like this.” So let’s get to the nitty-gritty so your guests will feel like they are dining with the chef in a five-star restaurant.

It’s your dish, so:

Choose your pasta of preference: curly, short or gluten free.
Choose a protein: prawns, salmon or beef. If you do not eat meat, add an extra veggie of your choice.
Prepare your sauce with fresh ingredients, or use a premade one.

The Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 red onion
1/2 white onion
The meat of your choice
1 medium green paper
3 Tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes
Dill & Garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 handful of spinach
1 cup of peas
Feta cheese

The Sauce: a bit of crushed garlic, basil, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

The Assembly: Heat a bit of olive oil and cook the red and white onions. After gaining a golden color, add the beef – if that is your choice of protein. If it’s the prawns or the salmon – leave them for last. Stir the ingredients on a medium high heat for about five minutes. Cut the green pepper, add it in the pan. After the pepper is cooked, lower the heat and add the sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, peas, pesto sauce and the spices, including the dill and finely chopped garlic. Cook for only 2-3 more minutes altogether. Turn off the oven, move the hot pan away from the burner and close it with the lid …. to steam it up.

The fish: If you decide to cook fish instead of beef, do it in a separate pan. For the salmon, if medium thick, oven-bake it in foil for no more than eight minutes. For the prawns: cook in a pan with a bit of olive oil for about 1-2 minutes on each side.

The pasta: Boil it following the package’s directions – do not overcook. After all, you want it to keep its shape. Cool it for a few seconds before serving.

Serving: Place the pasta in your dish, top it with a generous scoop of the mixed sauce, sprinkle feta cheese on top and voila – 20 minutes later, you and your guests are ready to enjoy a taste of Italy.
And just so you know, why Liguria? Well, Liguria is the coastal region of north-western Italy where pesto sauce is claimed to have originated. Now, isn’t it better when you know where things come from? Buon Appetito!

[Photo by kochtopf – CC BY]

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