Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rotini Pasta w/ Homemade Pesto, White Beans & Chicken Sausage

If you ask me, there's nothing like the smell of fresh basil, especially in the spring. Hands down, it's one of my favorite herbs, and one the best things I like to do with it is make homemade pesto.

Traditionally, pesto is made with pine nuts and parmesan cheese, but I make mine with walnuts, for their big health benefits, and without cheese (while I love cheese it does not always love me). Plus, I find that with the richness of the olive oil and garlic, it's not necessary for a great tasting pasta. I swear, you won't even miss it!

I love putting pesto on eggs and sandwiches, but it's best for pasta. I chose a spelt rotini noodle since the ridges really hold in the pesto. To pair with the pesto, I used the classic flavors of chicken sausage and white beans. I also sauteed up some organic zuchini and organic red bell pepper. The resulting dish was filling, delicious and super healthy. And lucky me, I even have some leftover pesto to use this week!

We paired this dish with a pinot noir from one of our favorite producers, Anthill Farms Winery, and it was delicious! See below for tasting notes!

Domestic Diva's Rotini Pasta w/ Homemade Pesto, White Beans & Chicken Sausage

1 box spelt rotini pasta (or other pasta)
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/4 white wine
1 cup chicken sausage, chopped
1 can navy beans or other white beans
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper


1/4 cup walnuts
1 big bunch basil
1/4 olive oil
4 garlic cloves (I think mine extra garlicky)
salt and pepper


To make the pesto, combine the ingredients into a food processor and grind until it forms a nice paste. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a saute pan, heat the 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, sauteing until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and peppers and saute for another 5 minutes. Add the chicken sausage and saute for 2 more minutes. Add the white wine & simmer until reduced. Then, add the wine beans and cook for another few minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water and drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the saute pan and toss to combine with the sausage/bean/veggie mix. Add the pesto and combine until the noodles are well-coated with the paste. Enjoy!

Wine Tasting Notes: Anthill Farms Peters Vineyard 2005 Pinot Noir

Diva Rating: 4 stars (out of 5 stars)

There's not enough space here to say enough good things about Anthill Farms Winery. First let me start by saying that, if you ask me, the 2005 California pinots are drinking fabulously right now. We've enjoy some great ones over the past few months! And this one was no exception. The grapes for the Peters are grown in Western Sonoma and ripen extra slowly on the wine, most likely one of the reasons this wine masquerades more like a Burgundy than a California pinot. In the glass, this wine had light coloring and when I took my first taste, it reminded me of Burgundy, with it's delicate cherry fruit flavors and light body. The finish was lovely and spicy, making you go back in for sip after sip. I highly recommend getting into Anthill Farms - they're so small that Robert Parker doesn't even review them, but they are making truly exciting pinot at a very reasonable price.

Click here for Anthill Farms website and sign up for their mailing list!

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