Pesto Adds Pizzazz To Veggie Spaghetti

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - January 18, 2012
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Chef Michael Longworth. Photo courtesy Romanoʼs Macaroni Grill

Executive Chef Mike Longworth of Romano’s Macaroni Grill-Ala Moana, who hails from Boston, has lived in Hawaii for the past 18 years. He is a true kama’aina Mike’s favorite vacation destination is Las Vegas! He has a wealth of experience and has held positions at Jackie Chan’s, Buca di Beppo and Sam Choy’s Breakfast Lunch and Crab restaurants.

Chef Mike is now introducing new menu fare that includes Antipasti and Italian Tapas such as Shrimp, Cannellini Bean and Avocado Crostini Flatbread, Ricotta Meatball Sliders, Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Flatbread and Roasted Chicken and Arugula Flatbread. Also new is Market Chop Salad and Salad Sampler. Additional pasta dishes include Pesto Spaghetti and Pasta di Mare. Of course, the classic dishes such as Fettuccine Alfredo, Eggplant Parmigiana, Lasagna Bolognese and Chicken Scaloppine are still on the menu along with create-your-own pasta. If you have a sweet tooth, scrumptious Tiramisu and Lemon Passion Cake will top off any meal.

For at-home cooks, Chef Mike was kind enough to give me his own recipe to share with MidWeek readers.

Buon appetito!

Pine nuts have been eaten in Europe and Asia since prehistoric times. The nut has a hard covering that must be removed before consuming. Pine nuts are very perishable and should be kept in the refrigerator or frozen. They are high in fat but very low in saturated fat and should be eaten in moderation. Pine nuts also contain fiber, folate, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin vitamin E, vitamin K, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, potassium and zinc.


For Pesto Sauce:

* 2 ounces fresh basil leaves, torn
* 4 tablespoons pine nuts
* 1 clove fresh garlic (peeled and cleaned)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt ( or to taste)
* 1/4 teaspoon pepper
* 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pulse in blender until combined, stirring a few times

For Roasted Vegetables:

* 1 each zucchini, yellow squash, red onion and red bell pepper
* 1 ounce extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon pepper Cut into 1-inch squares.

Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven at 350 degrees for five minutes, or until soft.

For Pasta:

Boil 1 pound of your favorite pasta in water. Toss pesto with roasted vegetables. Pour over cooked pasta and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Makes four servings.


(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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