Garden Treats, Part II: Basil Pesto Pasta Using Linguini a.k.a., “Lingreeni”
After the zucchini, the next garden crop that required harvesting, pronto, was my basil. Apparently it’s a big fan of lots and lots of rain as well.
Take a look. The innocent little plants I began with have turned into veritable basil bushes. When basil gets ready to flower on its tips, you know it’s time to take action. Come to think of it, those chives are calling out for attention too.
I decided to make a batch of pesto with the basil. Pesto reminds me of summer because it’s the only time I would consider making a recipe that calls for 5 packed cups of fresh basil. That would be a heck of a lot of little basil packages from the store in the winter.
Instead, I just whacked off the entire top half of one of the plants, washed the leaves thoroughly, and went to town making this simple yet delicious sauce.
You can use pesto in various ways: smeared on bruschetta, spread on burgers and pizza, or even mixed with butter and brushed on freshly grilled corn on the cob. The way I chose to use this batch of pesto was as a sauce for linguini. Mostly so I could then call it “lingreeni”.
Anyway, angel hair pasta or spaghetti would work very well too.
This dish became a lovely meatless entrée that my whole family devoured along with Italian bread, and a plate of sliced watermelon. Our plates looked like Christmas in July.
It’s important to prepare the pesto first, and just let it sit in a bowl at room temperature while you boil a pot of salted water and cook your pasta because the minute the pasta is done cooking, you’re going to want to bathe it in the pesto.
I used a pair of tongs to lift the cooked pasta out of the water, and immediately stirred it into the pesto. Don’t rinse the pasta. The sauce adheres better if you don’t rinse it, and it stays warmer longer too. If you find your pesto is a little too thick, just add a bit of the starchy pasta water to thin it out. Let the pasta and pesto blend for a couple of minutes, and then plate it. What you shouldn’t do is directly heat the pesto in a pot. Heating it causes the bright green color to turn black and the flavor to become bitter.
Here’s how you make the pesto sauce.
Recipe courtesy of: Ina Garten – The Food Network
1/4 cup walnuts (I didn’t use the walnuts, but doubled the pine nuts instead.)
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Toast the pine nuts/walnuts in a pan for a few minutes to bring out their flavor. (Ina isn’t suggesting that you toast them, but I, Becky, am.) Place the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds.
Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly puréed. Do not, however, take a photo while doing this, or you’ll end up with a puddle of oil on your counter.
Been there, done that.
Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute.
Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top. The oil helps protect the pesto by not allowing air to come into contact with it.
This is a delectable meal.
It also leaves you with garlic-induced dragon breath for the next 48 hours.
If you’re going to eat it, which I strongly encourage you do, make sure everyone around you eats it as well.
Here’s the printable version of the recipe.
Ina Garten’s Easy Pesto
|Prep time||15 minutes|
|Website||The Food Network|
- 1/4 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 9 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 5 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup Parmeson (freshly grated)
|Toast the walnuts/pine nuts in a pan on medium heat until golden brown. |
|Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top. |