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When you roast vegetables they taste divine. It gives them such a distinct flavour and yet it's something I don't often do.

It was watching an old episode of Delia Smith on TV that tempted me. She was making a lasagne with roast vegetables and it looked so good. My mouth was watering as I watched her cook and I realised that I'd not roasted vegetables for such a long time. I decided I'd leave the Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Lasagne for another time and instead I'd serve my vegetables with penne  pasta and some freshly made pesto.

I have such a lot of basil growing in pots, just waiting to be used and there is nothing nicer than freshly made pesto. Add a sprinkling of feta cheese and you have a match made in heaven.

Penne with Roast Vegetable and Fresh Pesto

Roast Vegetables

1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 courgette, sliced
12 cherry tomatoes
6 closed cup mushrooms, halved
2 cloves garlic
a few leaves of basil
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper


Pesto

a large handful basil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic
5 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
5-6 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper


Pasta

Penne

Topping

feta cheese
freshly ground black pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 240c/475f/gas mark 9.

In a large bowl, coat the pepper courgette and onion with most of the oil and season. Pour into a roasting tin and cook for 15 minutes. Next coat and season the mushrooms, garlic and tomatoes and add them to the roasting tin. These won't need as long to cook. Leave in for another 15 minutes until the vegetables are browning at the edges.

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions until al dente. I was using an unfamiliar brand and probably left mine in a minute or two too long.

Next make the pesto. Dry roast the pine nuts in a pan until they are beginning to take on some colour. This will give them a lovely flavour. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and whizz up until you have a slightly coarse pesto. Taste for seasoning.

Drain the pasta and coat in 4 tbsp pesto before tossing in the vegetables. Crumble over some feta cheese and grind some black pepper over the dish before serving.

I made enough pasta for two and used the remaining vegetables on wraps, but their is enough pesto and vegetables to serve up to 6 people.

This pasta dish would also be delicious as a cold pasta salad. If this is the way you want to go, then rinse the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking process and allow the vegetables to cool before adding them to the pesto coated pasta.
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