Thursday, August 11, 2011

EASY Basil Pesto Pasta Recipe

Hey everyone,

So most of my friends know this about me already, but at the end of the day, what I LOVE to eat MOST is simple, tasty, comfort food. Period.

Though I may love to savour finer foods from time to time, nothing gets me more going than food that's tugged a certain string in your heart and hence an appetite that you later cannot control. These kind of food comes from a different place and it could be a big, hearty plate of spag bol, or some Chinese pork dish so tasty that you'll quickly inhale it with a mountain of rice.

That kinda stuff, y'know? Nothing fancy but hits home.

And another thing I'm going to be doing on this blog is starting a new series called: Simple Meal Ideas.

This collection of recipes is personally dedicated to all of you, who, like me, can struggle with limited time/ideas/resource (cause I'm a student on a budget, too) to prepare a meal on a busy night of the week after a long day of work.

I have all the international students and busy working class people out there specifically in mind for this. The main objective is also to inspire people who have always been to scared/tired to cook anything with recipes SO SIMPLE that they know easy, healthy, delicious meals are really not as daunting as they'd think.

Also, hopefully to give more "experienced" cooks new ideas if they've already hit a bit of a "rut" in their daily diet. Cause I know that happens to me quite often, too.

I've already started by sharing my Creamy Butter Chicken and Milk Jelly Recipe, and today's recipe is going to be based on one that's been passed on to me by my sister quite some time ago.

It's one that I've made SO often for so many friends and family because it truly is one of the simplest, yet tastiest dishes you can prepare for yourself. It's basically mixing everything together. But the key is to season it with lots, and LOTS of cracked salt and pepper.

I've received so many positive feedbacks for this dish over the years and I always feel bad because they don't realise how little effort actually went in and was required to prepare this dish. However, I have a strong feeling it's partly because it's a good change from your usual Tomato/Cream based pasta. Seriously.

And please note that I made this dish for a friend's 21st last weekend and there were 30 people and hence the extremely, extremely humongous portion size. And the only reason I managed was because of how simple this recipe really was. Otherwise, I'd be stuffed.

Also, what I LOVE most about this recipe is that you can make it with ANYTHING you want and it uses lots of fresh ingredients from your local deli. However, I personally do prefer the sun-dried tomatoes from the jar simply cause they are fuller, chewier and sometimes sweeter compared to the ones from the deli.

As for the pesto, please feel free to make your own if you like. But as I've mentioned earlier, this recipe is designed to make it simple for people and store bought ones are not a bad option too.

But to be truly, truly frank with you, this recipe works best with cut up Ikea Meatballs ;p


EASY Basil Pesto Pasta
(Serves 3 or 2 big eaters)


250g pasta of choice
250g mushrooms of choice (sliced)
80g baby spinach
230g shaved ham (or Ikea Meatballs)
3 tbsp butter
100g basil pesto
100g sun-dried tomatoes

Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Boil pasta as per packet instructions until el dente. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside. Heat up pan/wok and saute the mushrooms with butter until soft. Stir in pasta, pesto and mix well to combine.

2. Stir in all the ham, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and mix well to combine. The bottom right picture is to show you how massive the portion was even for my huge ass wok.

3. Finally, crack lots and LOTS of salt and pepper. Even if you think you've done enough, you really haven't so keep cracking until your arms give out. Then, taste before giving it a final stir to combine. Now, enjoy! =)

Don't know about you but I'm seriously lovin' the step-by-step photos! Definitely hope to be able to do it more in the future. Peace!


Anonymous said...

that looks really lovely. anything I could replace shaved ham with? (not gonna go to ikea!)

Winston said...

Yo sally, tq banyak banyak ah...! Yeah you can replace with any other cook protein that you like to eat. Do you fancy turkey ham or turkey breast from the deli? They're quite tasty and don't need to cook hehe. But actually cooked chicken breast bits works really well and healthy too.

But actually your timin couldn't be better. I just bought myself a huge pack of Ikea meatballs and can't finish on my own!! Pass you some next time I see you ;)

Michelle Chin said...

Omg you use wok to cook pasta! You damn geng la you! I don't think I can do that!

Winston said...

hahaha... yay for msian accents on the internet -- lol!

eh no lah you know what... it's cause the portion i had to make for the party was waaaaay to massive for my pan cz got 30 hungry ppl to feed... actually even for my wok, it was too big so had to take some out and stir separately before putting them back in =(

Anonymous said...

I use wok for pasta too! Hi-5, Winston! Easy to toss :)

Shu Han said...

i'm a student on a budget too, so going to share some tips for making that dish cost even less- make your own "sundried" tomatoes, make your own pesto ;) it looks fab though! love that you fried it in a wok haha!

msihua said...

Man that looks brilliant and I too use a wok :) I remember my best dishes during uni days were my tom yam fried rice (paste from the jar)... soo good.. and I'd top it up with crispy ikan bilis!

Winston said...

LOL i feel so loved by all the comments from you guys telling me how you use woks for pasta too! its like i dont feel so alone anymore HAHA...

@ellie: agreed! woks are so spacious and carefree when cooking that it only makes to use them =)

@shu han: thx HEAPS for the recipe, shu han! im rly interested in making my own "oven"-dried tomatoes now =). oh and i love how we can identify with one another, being international students in a foreign country and learning to cook for the first time.

there's so many of "us" out there and it's great that we can continue to keep each other inspired. thx for sharing!! =)

@msihua: YUM!! that sounds brilliant! I love tom yam fried rice and always add a small teaspoon of "kecap pekat" or caramel sauce to it. come to think abt it, i havent had crispy ikan bilis in ages! thx for the reminder.

now im thinking maybe i should have started a "uni student cooking" section instead. i'm always interested to hear what food had been a staple to ppl's life during their time in uni cz the answers can be quite fascinating yet hilarious at the same time! haha ;p

Jade said...

YUMM...good job, winston. I like step by step photos too!
my comfort food is macaroni with Vegemite and butter, sprinkled with parmesan cheese. =) My mum used to make it heaps. And also for some bizarre reason, fish ball soup (ikan bilis base!) with alphabet pasta.

Winston said...

thanks, jade! i was able to do the step by step photos cz i had a friend helping me at the time, 2 hands is just not enough! ;p now im considering if i should get a tripod to help me out hmm....

hey that sounds like sth i always eat for supper too! except i use bovril cz i simple cant live without it in aus =(... my bro introduced it to me yrs back n it seems like sth a lot of msian families make at home! every one thinks too similarly in the msian community lol... that fishball ikan bilis soup sounds amazing, share recipe sometime eh! hahaha.. see u at uni soon =)

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