Spicy & Romantic Pesto Pasta

If I had to sum up romance in a sentence, I would say it is taking that which is familiar and ordinary, and continually making it extraordinary through the expression of love. This is eternally true for all aspects of life, and in my case– cooking.I wanted to come up with a delicious recipe that could be used to celebrate Valentine’s day by making others feel loved. If we can put love into the details of what we do by thoughtfulness and creativity, we will never grow bored. With this dish, you have familiar ingredients, with added spice to surprise the taste buds, and undoubtedly, the lucky receiver of this incredible dish!

I rule-bend  a lot in the kitchen, because following traditional recipes leaves me unsatisfied. The chemist in me questions high calorie ingredients and pushes to explore and find new ingredients that don’t skimp on the flavor. Trust me on this: leave nothing out! This has got to be one of the most sensual and delicious dishes I’ve had in a while, and no reservation was necessary!

Serves 7

You will need:

  • food processor (If you do not have a food processor or a good blender, skip the pesto step and buy pesto already made. Sun dried tomato pesto is preferred)
  • 1 box of whole wheat thin spaghetti
  • 1tsp 21 seasoning salute
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 3 large jalapenos
  • approximately 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 or 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • red pepper flakes, add as desired
  • black pepper
  • 3 to 4 cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 3 red bell peppers (washed, seeded and cut into thin strips)
  • 5 sun ripened tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup raw pine nuts
  • the juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1/8 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 2 tsp cilantro
  • Your choice of protein (My recommendation would be shrimp for this dish, but you have many options spicy Italian seitan was used for mine)

1. Cook pasta according to al dente instructions. We want our pasta nice and hearty and able to be tossed with ease.

2. For spicy pesto, add the following ingredients to your food processor: fresh basil leaves, 2.5 jalapenos, 1/8 cup olive oil, garlic, sun ripened tomatoes, pine nuts, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, Parmesan and cilantro. Also, add salt and pepper to taste. I used about 1/2 tsp of salt and a dash of pepper.

3. Pulse food processor until the ingredients are minced finely and almost the texture of puree.

4. In a large skillet, use about 1 TBSP olive oil and brown your protein on medium high heat. I used a dash of salt and pepper, and 21 Seasoning Solute generously.  ). Once protein has browned, add bell peppers and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes. For additional spice, finely chop additional jalapeno and add to saute. Add baby spinach last, as it wilts the fastest. Remove from heat.

5. Add cooked and rinsed noodles to skillet of protein and vegetables and toss well. Add pesto sauce and serve with additional basil leaves as garnish.

Spicy Pesto Pasta with Italian Seitan Sausage

Nutritional info per serving:

(without protein added)

Calories: 320  Protein: 10g  Fat:10g

I will follow up with a very spicy dessert. Click the button above to subcribe!