The traditional definition of pesto is a sauce made with crushed basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic mixed with olive oil and grated parmesan cheese. But pesto can include a whole lot of other ingredients — basil can be substituted with some other herb or herbs, for instance — and it would still be pesto so long as the preparation stays the same. According to my dictionary, the origin of the term pesto is “Italian, from pestare ‘pound, crush.'”
In this recipe, pasta is tossed with pimiento pesto — a sauce made with basil leaves, garlic, salt, pepper and grilled pimiento. The smokiness of the grilled pimiento adds a wonderful dimension — and color — to what is already a beautiful sauce. The sausages are cooked separately and added at the last minute. The herbed bread sticks are made from leftover pie crust dough.
Pimiento Pesto and Sausage Spaghetti
- 100 grams spaghetti
- 1 handful sweet basil leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 large grilled pimiento skinned, de-seeded and roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 100 grams good quality smoky sausage thinly sliced into rings
- grated cheese optional
- Cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water.
- While the pasta cooks, make the pesto. Place the basil leaves, garlic and pimiento in a food processor and chop. Stir in the olive oil and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- In a non-stick pan, arrange the sausage slices in a single layer. Cook on both sides just until fat is rendered and the meat is lightly browned.
- Drain the spaghetti. Toss with the pesto. Add the sausages. Toss once more. Sprinkle with grated cheese, if you like.
- Serve the pimiento pesto and sausage spaghetti with bread sticks.