The pesto in this recipe is unique and delicious. That said, it may not come together like a standard pesto. But do not be tempted to add more cheese. In fact a little secret to get this pesto (and other pestos, aiolis, etc) to emulsify better is by simply adding a bit of water. Blend again and you should have a beautiful sauce. This dish is a great for a gathering or pot-luck as it can be served both hot and at room temperature.
Red Pesto Ingredients:
DoubleX Tomato Paste, 4-5 Ts
Organic Walnuts (toasted), ¼ Cup
Organic Arugula, One handful
Olive Oil, ¼ Cup
Garlic Cloves, 2-3 cloves – smashed
Parmesan Cheese or Follow Your Heart Parmesan Cheese, 3 Ts
Salt and Pepper
GF Pasta, 1 pound
Organic Fennel Bulb, 1 Med (sliced ¼” wide)
Organic Red Onion, 1 Med (sliced ¼” wide)
Organic Uncooked Chicken or Vegan Sausage, Pinched into 1” pieces
Organic Olive Oil, 2 Ts
Organic Arugula, 2 Handfuls
Organic Garlic, 3-4 Cloves - minced
Red Pepper Flakes
Salt and Pepper
Parmesan Cheese or Follow Your Heart Parmesan cheese
In a small sauté pan on medium heat – combine the anchovies (plus a bit of anchovy oil) and the garlic. Sauté for about 3-4 minutes until the anchovies have broken up and the garlic has lightly browned – add the tomato paste and continue to sauté until the paste has darkened up. Turn off the heat and scrape the tomato mixture into a blender or a container to use with a submersion blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Add about 2 Ts of water, salt and pepper – blend again. The mixture should emulsify and look creamy. Taste for salt correction (if needed). Set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 375º F.
Boil the water to make the pasta. In a medium size prep bowl, combine the fennel, red onion, and garlic. Toss with olive oil, a few red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Using a sheet pan, arrange the veggies and pinch off ~ 1” sized pieces of sausage and place in and around the veggies. Roast veggies for 20 – 25 minutes or until fennel have softened and the sausage pieces have cooked through. *Always a good idea to toss the veggies at the halfway point to ensure even roasting.
Make pasta according to instructions – DO NOT OVERCOOK. When it is cooked – place in a large prep bowl. Add about ½ cup of the red pesto and toss to coat. Once the pasta is nicely coated, add the roasted veggies and the arugula – toss gently, add a couple more Ts of parmesan cheese and serve!