Monday, August 17, 2009

Food: Pesto with Zucchini

My little Riley is at "summer camp" at my parents' house since my current assignment doesn't give me very good hours for picking her up at doggie daycare (7 hours of travel time Mondays and Thursdays is a huge burden on a girl's schedule). When I dropped her off for her many weeks of fun, my mom loaded up my car with fresh basil, zucchini, and raspberries! Oh how I miss living in a house with a big garden!

Jonathan and I polished off the raspberries almost instantly. And knowing I needed to make something with the basil and zucchini before I went out of town for a week, I remembered reading about Molly's dinner party (from her book "A Homemade Life") where she used these two ingredients as key flavors in a wonderful pasta dish. The pesto recipe below is my own, and unlike most store-bought versions, I prefer it to be hand chopped due to the nice, homemade texture it lends. I also like a dollop of sour cream on the side for a hint of tartness (I grew up with a creamy version of pesto spread over rotini noodles that was basically pesto blended in with sour cream and parmesan). This is an easy and super fresh lunch (or dinner) idea and is perfect for this time of year - especially since zucchini and basil are in abundance.

Pesto, Zucchini, Motown Maiden, Orangette, Molly, Linguine, Basil, Garlic
Pesto, Zucchini, Motown Maiden, Orangette, Molly, Linguine, Basil, Garlic
Pesto, Zucchini, Motown Maiden, Orangette, Molly, Linguine, Basil, Garlic
Pesto, Zucchini, Motown Maiden, Orangette, Molly, Linguine, Basil, Garlic
Basil Pesto and Zucchini
MM, Inspired by and adapted from Orangette

Ingredients
  • 2 large bunches of basil, leaves only, washed and dried
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic
  • 1 small handful of raw pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup of loosely packed Parmesan (freshly grated)
  • 3-4 Tb of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large, garden fresh zucchini
  • 1 package of long, pasta noodles (I used linguine)

Directions

  1. On a large cutting board, roughly chop the basil
  2. Add the garlic and pine nuts, further chopping to combine. Chop until the garlic and pine nuts are fine bits
  3. Fill a large pot with water and place over high heat, salt generously and bring to a boil (once it reaches a boil, slightly reduce the heat to prevent water from spilling over the edges of the pot)
  4. While the water heats, carefully slice the zucchini into thin, long slices (use a mandoline for the best effect)
  5. Place the zucchini slices into the pre-heated water for 6 minutes or so (just enough time to cook them but not become mushy)
  6. Drain the zucchini and place aside (do not get rid of the hot cooking water!)
  7. Add the pasta to the cooking water and prepare as directed on the box for al dente
  8. Drain pasta, toss with pesto and zucchini and serve with some freshly shaved parmesan (I like to use a vegetable peeler to make nice curls) and a dollop of sour cream on the side (if you'd like, this is optional)

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