Whenever I am pressed for time and want something somewhat fresh and easy, I resort to this old standby. Here are the ingredients that I tend to use most of the time.
Some kind of fresh pasta from the supermarket (tortellini, ravioli or agnolotti by Buitoni work)
Butter or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Sweet Basil and/or Lemon Thyme
Pancetta or Proscuitto
and some Pesto Sauce if you like
Slice up the tomato to whatever size you want it to be in the end.
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Boil your pasta. You can add some olive oil to the water if you like.
Put about a tablespoon of butter or olive oil the pan with the meat, the herbs and the nuts. Saute on medium heat (careful not to burn the nuts) until the meat starts to curl from being cooked. For this dish I used butter and pancetta. I also added a little bit of kosher salt and pepper here.
Here are a couple of sprigs of lemon thyme from my garden. I haven't really had an easy time finding it anywhere. You can use regular thyme or just not use any at all! Also, you can remove it later so you don't have stick-like herbs in your food. Or, do what I did after this shot was taken, take it out and pull off the leaves to put them back in the pan! It made for a nice photo to have the full stems in the pan, but not for nice texture.
After I drain my pasta, I sometimes add a little olive oil to keep it from sticking to itself (if I hadn't already added it to the water before I added the pasta) and give it a little pepper and kosher salt, because it makes me feel cool to use my fingers to add salt. Foodnetwork does that to you.
Also, to add a little different flavor you can use white pepper. It doesn't add as much to the color of the dish, but it has it's own unique flavor. I used both freshly ground white and black pepper for this particular dinner.
Add your fresh tomatoes and your cheese. I am a big fan of fresh parmesan. I like to add fresh tomatoes to the pasta to lighten it up a bit b/c of the oiliness of the nuts, butter/oil and meat.
Add some more kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, if you like. Here is where you would add the pesto sauce if you wish, I would only use two tablespoons or so.
And here you go!
This meal takes me literally about 15 minutes to make, and we all love it.
I especially love the way it looks garnished with some sweet basil from my very own garden!