Sunday, July 8, 2012

Pesto Pasta

Boy, hasn't it been a hot week? One thing in my garden that simply loves the warmth and sunshine is my basil patch. This morning I harvested two baskets full! I knew I wouldn't want to do much indoor cooking, so I made a really quick pasta salad this morn before I headed off to the beach for the day.

A summertime staple around our house is basil pesto. It makes such a nice dressing for grilled summer veggies or in my favorite morning crepe with spinach, ham and provolone..or on an easy appetizer with roasted tomatoes. But today most of what I made went into a pasta salad with a handful of olives and roasted red peppers. Yumma!

Basil Pesto Pasta

For the Pesto

3 cups fresh basil leaves (packed into measuring cup)
4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pistacchio nuts
3/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

For pasta salad:

1 # pasta of choice
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, roughly chopped
1/4 cup black olives, chopped

Cook pasta according to directions. Drain & cool completely.

For the Pesto

Wash basil leaves if needed and spin dry or dry with paper towels. Put basil leaves and sliced garlic into food processor that's been fitted with the steel blade and process until basil and garlic is finely chopped. Drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube as you process.

Add pistacchio nuts, cheese, and lemon juice to the chopped basil mixture and process 1-2 minutes more, until the pesto is mostly pureed and well mixed.

Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and pulse a few times more.

If you aren't planning to use the pesto right away, store it in the refrigerator in a covered glass jar, where it will keep for more than a week.

For pasta salad, add 2 cups of Basil Pesto to cooled pasta along with 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers and 1/4 cup chopped black olives. Toss all together until completely blended. Chill covered at least two hours in refrigerator before serving.

Toss some chops onto the grill and pour yourself an ice cold herbal tea and pass the Pesto pasta around the table. Stay cool! Enjoy!

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