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Bite Of Minnesota: Pasta With Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

There are certain meals that every family turns to when they want something quick and filling. Often times, that quick and filling component comes in the form of pasta and the nice thing about pasta is that it's cheap.

When I played competitive sports in high school, my teammates would brag about how many carbohydrates they consumed to prep for a tournament. I didn't really understand what they were talking about, but not wanting to be left out, I started scarfing down massive amounts of spaghetti, hoping I would magically become more coordinated and skilled in sports. I'll cut to the chase: it didn't work.

While I still occasionally enjoy a plate of spaghetti, my tastes have become a bit more complicated and now one of my favorite pasta dishes (next to lasagna) is this one:

Made up of sun-dried tomato pesto, portobello mushrooms and bow-tie pasta, this is quite simple to throw together. I make my own pesto, but store-bought would work well too, just add the water gradually, as many brands differ in consistency.

Bow Ties with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Mushrooms
Adapted from Very Vegetarian
(serves 6)

1 lb. bow tie pasta
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
3 portobello mushroom caps, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 cup sun-dried tomato pesto*
1/4 cup basil, sliced thinly
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds before adding onion. Sauté 5 minute or until the onions begin to soften. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 more minutes. Add pesto to the pan along with 1/2 cup water to thin out the pesto. Mix well and heat through. Season to taste and garnish with basil before serving.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
(makes 2 cups)

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a food processor, chop the walnuts. Add sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and basil; process until chopped. Drizzle olive oil in while processing (or add a tablespoon at a time) until it forms a spreadable paste. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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