Cherry Tomato and Greens Pasta

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There was a bag of greens on sale at the store, it was an assortment of baby spinach, chard, bok choy, and maybe five others.  I don’t know, I don’t feel like getting up from the chair and getting the bag from the fridge.  Basically all your dark leafy greens.  I couldn’t help myself.  Then cherry tomatoes were on sale, I couldn’t help myself again.  You may laugh, but coming from somebody who only recently stopped eating cereal for every meal due to low income, I still see cherry tomatoes as a luxury item.  Call me quaint.

I decided to add sunflower seeds to this because one day in a moment (or several moments) of weakness I decided to buy pesto from a jar.  Shut up, I know.  But if you buy the cheap stuff from the jar it’s way cheaper than making it yourself from scratch.  Oh my frick, shut up again, I know, we all have our weaknesses…low grade pesto happens to be one of mine.  I’m working on it, it’s not my fault pine nuts are so stupid expensive.  Anyway, while I was in the market for some cheap pesto I noticed while inspecting the ingredients lists (it’s kind of a problem I have) half of the brands used sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts.  I had never thought of that.  Now you might be thinking that my savvy self put that jar down right then, went home and whipped up a fresh batch of pesto using sunflower seeds.  Nope.  Bought the cheapest jar of pine nut basil pesto I could find with more fillers than I care to admit (we’re talking milk powders, cheese powders, and other…powders) and used half of my poor basil plant trying to add in the mysterious lack of basil flavor.  Never again.  I have yet to make a sunflower seed pesto but I consider this my stepping stone towards said dish.

UPDATE: I have, and it’s delicious–Sunflower Cashew Pesto and Sunflower Cashew Pesto (part 2)

Recipe:

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (halved, 15 or so)
5 garlic (diced)
1-2 tbsp basil (fresh, garnish)
1/2 tsp basil (dried)
1/4 sunflower seeds (roasted)
6 ounces dark leafy greens, or a super combo pack like mine
1/4 cup kalamata olives (diced)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
8-10 ounces pasta
salt, pepper to taste

Start your pot for your pasta.  I had never tried using this asparagus steamer I received as a gift (thanks Doody) for noodles before.  But on a particularly uneventful day I watched Gordon Ramsay make noodles in his steamer he was selling on QVC and I thought, “Why didn’t I think of that?”  See, that’s why he’s a master chef.

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Turn your oven on to 300° if you need to roast your sunflower seeds (I buy mine raw because I put them in granola).  Leave in there for 20-30 minutes, checking on them every five or so.

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While your seeds are roasting or sitting in their container waiting to be used because you bought them roasted, prepare your basil, greens, tomatoes, garlic, olives…you know, everything.

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I’ll admit, I don’t know how to measure greens.  It’s pretty much the only thing I think, “I wish I had a scale right now.”  I know, out of all the recipes supposedly needing perfectly measured amounts of dry ingredients and spinach is what I want to measure.  These came out of a  bag and I used about half of it and I’m trusting those packaging majors know how to correctly label a bag of spinach so, we’ll say I used 6 ounces.  Really though, I’m of the belief you can’t over do it with greens.  And if you have you can tell me and I won’t believe you, because I already said you can’t over do it with greens.

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Put your noodles in your pot, turns out this steamer does a fabulous job at making pasta.  Who knew?  Gordon Ramsay, that’s who.

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Heat your 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat and add your garlic.  Cook until fragrant, don’t burn it.  Nothing saves burnt garlic.

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Add your olives, move around for a couple minutes.  Just to get the flavors mixing.

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Now add your greens and tomatoes.  The tomatoes are in there somewhere.

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There they are.  Cook until your greens start to wilt, they don’t need to be all the way wilty.  The heat from the pasta will cook them the rest of the way for you.  If you finish this before your pasta is done take it off the heat.  Add your dried basil and red wine vinegar.   Something about vinegar and greens, I believe they were made to be consumed together.

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When your pasta is done, drain and add directly to your pan with your greens and tomatoes.  If you desire any salt or pepper add it here, I only added pepper.

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Top with your sunflower seeds and a cheese that makes you happy.

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