Turbo Thursday – Creamy Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Halloumi and Zucchini

It’s time for some pasta! Because Thursdays and pasta are made for each other!

Thursdays + Pasta = True Love <3

I don’t know how many times that package of pasta has saved us when we’ve been working late, are tired to our bones or are in none whatsoever mood for cooking. Fortunately for us that package has always been lying around, like a faithful friend. And it will continue to have a special place in our hearts and in our pantry for all eternity.

This Thursday I whip up a speedy pasta that’s ready in 20 minutes. Tada!! Quick, easy and so damn delicious. A creamy pasta sauce that’s filled with so much flavors you won’t miss out on anything. The secret ingredient is the sundried tomato pesto which is packed full of flavors and the perfect base for a nice bowl of pasta.

You will actually have time to make your own pesto within the 20 minutes it takes to make this dish, but feel free to use a store bought variety if you want the dinner ready in 15 minutes instead. Just make sure to buy a high quality one so you don’t miss out on the big flavors.

We had a package of bean pasta lying around so that’s what I used; but any pasta will do the trick. We been pooh-poohing bean pasta for quite some time simply because we didn’t thought it would taste as good as white pasta. But when we finally pulled ourselves together and tried it we changed our minds. It’s actually really tasty! And the flavor? Well… its nuttier and more flavorsome; and in my opinion that’s something positive. And the texture? The texture is just what to expect from pasta. Some other interesting things with bean pasta is that it contains twice as much fiber and quite a lot more protein. So all in all – it’s a nice, tasty and healthy alternative for all of you who dare trying.

And how do we spend this Thursday? Well… I cook up this pasta as soon as I get home from work, spoon it into two bowls, take Stefan in the hand and just slide down in the sofa in front of a decent TV-series. Because the best remedy after a toilsome day at work is to spend the evening with a heaping bowl of pasta and the ones you love.

Happy Thursday guys!

 

Creamy Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta with Halloumi and Zucchini – 6 Servings

This creamy bowl of pasta goodness is everything you want from a weekday meal. You can swap the homemade pesto for the same amount of a store bought variety.

Ingredients:

Pesto
35 g basil (1 bunch)
35 g pine nuts (about ½ dl)
50 g Parmesan, grated (about 1 dl)
200 g sundried tomatoes in oil (120 g tomatoes + 80 g oil)
1 garlic clove
100 g olive oil (about 1 dl)
Salt
Black pepper

Pasta
450 g pasta (1 package, I used bean pasta containing 30 % kidney beans)
600-700 g zucchini (2 medium sized)
200 g Halloumi (1 package)
2 garlic cloves
100 g cream (1 dl)
100 g creme fraiche (1 dl)
Pasta water

Olive oil
Salt
Black pepper
200 g rocket (1 big bag)
Pumpkin seeds

Preparation:

Fill a big pot with water and a generous pinch of salt and bring it up to a boil.

While the pasta water is coming up to a boil do the pesto by placing sundried tomatoes, basil (keep the stalks), pine nuts, Parmesan, sundried tomato oil, olive oil and garlic in a bowl. Mix with a hand blender until a paste is formed. Don’t mix it completely smooth though; it’s nice with some small chunks from tomatoes, basil and nuts.

Place the pasta into the salted, boiling water and cook according to the instructions on the package. Meanwhile preheat a skillet and cut the zucchini and Halloumi into dice sized pieces. Add a glug of oil to the pan and fry the zucchini on high heat for about 3-5 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated. Add the Halloumi and fry for another minute or so or until everything is nice and golden. Lower the heat and add finely chopped garlic. Pour in the cream, crème fraiche and pesto.

Drain the pasta when it still got some bite left to it and save a mug of pasta cooking water. Add the pasta to the pesto sauce and give it a toss. Dilute the sauce with the starchy cooking water until preferred consistency (I added about 300 g/3 dl). Let the pasta soak up some of the sauce. Have a taste and add salt and black pepper if needed.

Serve with rocket and roasted salted pumpkin seeds.

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