Easy Mediterranean Shakshuka with homemade pesto
The Shakshuka is a classic middle eastern dish, typically prepared for breakfast. In this super easy recipe, we’ll make a different style Shakshuka with Mediterranean herbs and ricotta cheese. Coupled with two slices of toasted rustic bread makes a perfect complete meal.
We’ll prepare all the ingredients for the tomato sauce. This will be a classic Italian tomato sauce, the kind usually prepared for pasta sauces, to which we’ll add some bell peppers, olives, capers, and leeks. Not to forget the herbs: we’ll prepare a delicious pesto and drizzle on top for the finishing touch.
Begin by preparing the pesto: roast the almonds and set them aside to cool down. In a blender add the basil, parsley, olive oil, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and almonds. Blend until smooth.
Chop the onions, leeks, garlic and bell peppers. 1/4 inch size will be perfect. Get the skillet on the stove and add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Add in the bell peppers and leeks, cook for 5 minutes on high heat, stirring constantly. We don’t want to cook the vegetables all the way thru, just enough to soften slightly but remain crunchy and ‘al dente’. Remove the sauteed leeks and bell peppers and store in a bowl aside, for later.
In the same pan, recoat with olive oil if necessary and add in the chopped onions, cook for 10 minutes until golden brown, add in the garlic, stir for another minute and add the whole peeled tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste and let simmer for 2o minutes with the lid just slightly open.
The reason we don’t want to close the lid completely is to let some water evaporate and concentrate the tomato sauce and flavors.
Now it’s time to blend the sauce. If you used pureed tomato sauce you can skip this step. Depending on how you prefer your ‘salsa’ you can blend in short intervals just a few times to retain some ‘chunkiness’ or just blend all the way thru for a smooth, creamy texture, your choice.
You can add now the previously cooked leeks, olives, capers and bell peppers to the sauce, stir to combine everything well. Bring to a simmer and add in the eggs, one a time, being careful not to break the yolks. Cover set the heat to low and poach for 5 minutes – more or less. Cook until the yolks have a thin translucent layer on top, and are soft inside.
While the eggs are poaching prepare the toasted bread by drizzling a little bit of olive oil on the slices and toasting them in a pan, or in the toaster.
When done server the Shakshuka with the crunchy toasted bread and drizzle a tbsp, or more, of the pesto, and a few chunks of ricotta cheese.
Note: the prepared pesto can be kept in the fridge for 10-12 days, and makes for a wonderful pasta sauce.
For the pesto –
- 1 cup of toasted almonds
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 cups basil and parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- salt and pepper to pleasure
For the main dish – for two
- 1 medium onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 leek
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 can (14oz) canned tomatoes
- 4 eggs
- 8-12 olives
- 1 tsp crushed and minced capers
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 4 slices of bread, preferably rustic bread
- salt, pepper, olive oil