Only a few weeks after beginning my garden I’m able to reap the benefits. Last night I was hungry for a fresh, light dinner, and there wasn’t much in the fridge. Too tired to even call for takeout, I decided to see what was on hand in my pantry – I had the usual stuff – a box of linguine, some olive oil, half a head of garlic – no butter, the veggie drawer was empty, and I wasn’t hungry for a bowl of cereal.
I dug around the cheese drawer in the fridge and came up with a stump of Parmigiano Reggiano, and found some pine nuts in a bag at the back of the freezer. Once I saw the nuts, I knew I had dinner.
Start to finish it took 17 minutes to make one of the freshest dinnersI’ve ever had in my new house. 17 Minutes is the amount of time it takes to boil the water and cook 1 pound of pasta – by the way.
4 cups fresh basil – washed and loosely measured
1-2 cloves garlic – peeled
1/4 c Olive Oil (EVOO)
1-2 handfuls pinenuts (untoasted)
parmesan to taste
1 box of pasta
Put a big pot of water on to boil – do this first, because it takes the longest to boil the water for the pasta. Add a big pinch of salt so the water tastes like the sea for extra flavor.
I headed out to my garden and grabbed a bunch of leaves of basil right off the plants. I planted 6 and all survived this texas heat (in fact they are doing quite well), so I took a bit of of each one. No scissors, or shears, I just plucked off the leaves with my fingers. When I got back inside, I used my OXO Salad Spinner to clean all the dirt off the leaves.
In a blender or food processor (or mortise and pestle) grind up the garlic until it’s small bits – but not liquified. Then add the pine nuts and pulse chop until they are small bits, too (but not dust). Add in the Basil (be sure you wash it in lots of cold water), and process until you get a beautiful fresh green color. don’t over do it.
Then add some olive oil until the pesto mixture becomes just loose enough to slide off a spoon. If you add Too much EVOO you can add more pine nuts and basil.
Open the lid of the blender and take a big sniff. Smell that fresh basil and garlic. Yum! Take the pesto out of the blender, and put into a bowl. Mix in some freshly grated parmesan – I like to add a bit more to the pesto instead of sprinkling it on top of the pasta.
Now your pot of water should be boiling, so add in the pasta and cook until it sticks to the wall when you toss it. Someday I’ll describe my pasta testing method in more detail – I have a special pasta wall that I throw strands against just to see if they stick, but I digress. This is a pesto class.
Drain the noodles, and then toss with the pesto mixture you just made.
Don’t eat it so fast that you choke. Be sure to chew a little.