Summer Pesto PastaJul 6th, 2012 | By Cecilia | Category: blog, cook something, vegetables and pasta
All across the country things are heating up. Places that haven’t seen triple digit temperatures in decades are suffering from blistering heat.
When it’s as hot as you-know-where, heating up the kitchen for very long to cook a meal is not a great option.
For days (weeks and months) of hot weather, I like to turn to cool comfort foods. Foods that require minimal if any time on the stove or in the oven.
My favorite dish bursts with the flavors of the summer garden.
Summer Pesto Pasta
Serves 2 to 4 depending on portions
I use pecans in this pesto for two reasons: 1) I am from Texas and we grow wonderful pecans here, so they are plentiful and very fresh, and 2) for some people, including me, pine nuts cause a condition called “pine mouth“, whereby for the next week (sometimes two) after ingesting the pine nuts, everything else you eat tastes bitter or metallic. Not fun.
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 5 cups basil leaves, packed*
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic cloves, may leave whole
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound pasta (use something with a lot of nooks and crannies to hold onto the pesto)
- 12 Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Whole basil leaves for garnish
- Put pasta onto cook following package directions.
- While Pasta is cooking, in a food processor, break up the pecans until they are in quarter inch pieces.
- Add garlic and pulse six times.
- Add the basil and pulse to break down the leaves.
- Begin adding olive oil while pulsing food processor, until you reach the consistency you prefer (I like a drier, less oily pesto).
- Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse three to six times to blend.
- Salt and pepper to taste. Pulse tow to three times to mix.
- When pasta is done cooking, drain, and put back into pot. Add some of the pesto and stir. Continue to add pesto to pasta until it is covered to your liking. Transfer pesto covered pasta to a storage container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate. Refrigerate any unused pesto, and drizzle top with olive oil to slow down oxidation. Use within a week.
- When ready to serve, slice cherry tomatoes in half and mix into pasta. Plate pasta salad and garnish with sprigs of basil.
- Serve with a tall glass of cold iced tea with mint, or with a glass of Pinot Grigio, and a piece of garlic bread for a satisfying summer meal.
* May substitute cilantro leaves in place of basil for a tasty alternative.