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Everyday Excellence – Al’s pesto pasta

Have a look at our latest Everyday Excellence offering if you’ve not yet seen it on the Majestic homepage. The Everyday Excellence range shows you one of our Majestic manager’s cook their tasty yet simple-to-make dishes and then pair them with an Everyday Excellenceaffordable wine from the Majestic range. It just goes to show that you don’t need to be a master-chef to cook up a real treat!

The latest film sees Al put together his speciality dish of pesto pasta with oven-dried tomatoes, bacon and peas. At the time of filming Al was manager at Majestic Wine Marlborough but he has since been promoted to Senior Wine Advisor at Lay and Wheeler (a fine wine specialist that Majestic acquired in March 2009).

Watch the short film here to see how simple this dish is to cook. Believe me, it truly is a fantastic melody of flavours and then see why Al has paired his dish with Ramon Bilbao’s Rioja ‘Single Vineyard’ from Spain.

To re-create Al’s pesto pasta we’ve put together a simple step by step recipe guide below. All you need to do is pop to a shop with the shopping list and away you go!

Al’s pesto pasta with oven-dried tomatoes, bacon and peas

Pesto PastaIngredients (serves 2)

* 6 vine tomatoes
* 1 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
* 50g fresh basil
* 30g pine nuts, lightly toasted
* 30g parmesan cheese, freshly grated
* 1 clove of garlic, whole
* 85ml olive oil
* Penne pasta (50g per person)
* 100g dry cured smoked streaky bacon or pancetta
* 75g frozen peas
* Extra virgin olive oil
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. To prepare the tomatoes, cut them in to wedges and arrange on a non-stick roasting tin. Sprinkle over the chopped garlic, season generously, then drizzle with olive oil.
2. Place in a preheated oven at 160 degrees Celsius and roast for 45 minutes. (Once cooked these tomatoes can be stored in a jar, covered with olive oil).
3. In a frying pan over a medium heat, toast the pine nuts until they just begin to colour.
4. Place the pine nuts in a blender with the basil, garlic clove and parmesan, and season well with salt and pepper, then blitz.
5. With the blender still running, slowly add the olive oil and continue to blend until a smooth texture is achieved.
6. Now cook the pasta in a pan of boiling water according to the packet instructions.
7. In the meantime, fry the bacon or pancetta until crispy, then add the peas and roasted tomatoes to the pan and heat through.
8. To serve, add the pesto sauce to the pan and combine with the pasta. Sprinkle over some grated parmesan and garnish with torn basil leaves.

Wine match
Rioja ‘Single Vineyard’ Ramon Bilbao, Spain

Al says:
Al LuffinghamThis wine has absolutely beautiful brambly fruit and a touch of spice which works well with the pesto, but what’s key is it’s also relatively high in acidity which also works with the tomatoes. Although quite full-bodied, it’s still really soft and easy drinking, so is ideal with a mid-week meal.