I just made the BEST dinner and I had to share it. This is actually based on a recipe I had at The Stinking Rose in San Francisco. It is a Pesto and Arugula Pasta and it's the BEST pasta dish ever. So, take this recipe and impress your husband/wife/partner/parents etc... This is also a GREAT dish to serve if you have having company - it will impress the pants off people and it's sooooo easy! Here you go:
Pasta - enough for the amount of people you are serving (I used bowtie pasta)
Pesto - Here's the easy part. Don't make it, but it at the store already prepared (it either comes in a bottle or in the refrigerated section.
Grape Tomatoes (small) - cut them in half, but leave them raw.
Arugula - leave this raw as well
Parmesan Cheese - NOT THE GREEN CAN (you know what i'm talking about). Either get a block of it and shave it yourself or purchase it in the container that is shaved, not grated.
OPTIONAL: -Chicken pieces or shrimp (you can add one of these if you don't want vegetarian pasta - I am a fan of the vegetarian version).
Cook the pasta until al dente (or almost done - but still has a bit of a bite to it). Drain. Add as much pesto as you'd like. Right before you serve it, add about 8 pieces of arugula per plate. Toss it lightly so you don't break the leaves. At this point you can add in the chicken/shrimp/mushrooms if you so choose. Plate each portion and add the tomatoes on top of each portion (about 10-12 pieces per plate -- or to your liking). After you do this, add grated parmesan cheese to taste.
This dinner was one of the best dinners I have made yet. My husband doesn't really like the arugula because it's not cooked (he says that there are plants growing in his dinner...lol), but to the sophisticated palate (that sounded snobby didn't it? Sorry!), it adds depth and flavor to the dish. I must say though, don't overdo it with the arugula because it does have a bit of a different taste, so people may not like it too much. Also, I added plain sauteed mushrooms to it (but that's just because I really like mushrooms). Other things that would go GREAT in this dish are sprinkling the individual plates with pine nuts or adding in sun dried tomatoes. Either of these would be great. This is a dish that I call "semi-homemade" because it takes about 15 minutes, but it's restaurant quality. Let me know if you have any questions. :) Happy cooking!