It’s been an aggravating week. Normally I like to have my head in the clouds, thinking brilliant things like “strawberries are really pretty and taste good” and “i like flowers.” Yup. It is a conscious choice that I made… if my brain sounds like something that a second-grader might write as a caption for a picture drawn with crayons, it tends to mean that life is pretty damn good. (What this means about me as a person is something that I will worry about some other day).
Unfortunately this week has been an extravaganza of real-world headaches. It’s almost time to get the gardens planted, I have a pile of bills to sort through, and I need to get into the kitchen and make some spring jams for the farmers market. It’s the kind of week where, when I decide to cook something for the blog, my camera stops working and I almost burn out the motor on the blender. Insert expletives here.
The solution? Fresh pasta, with a ton of cheese and olive oil. Nothing like some carbs and a bottle of wine to cheer a girl up.
This pasta is also great on days when you’re not totally overwhelmed with life. It’s actually really delicious pretty much all the time, even cold as leftovers. Pair it with some grilled chicken and an heirloom tomato salad and you’ve got yourself a summer dinner party. The key to this pesto pasta being so amazing is that is uses a ridiculous amount of cheese, with plenty in the pesto sauce but then a huge amount stirred in while the pasta is still hot.
Makes: about 1 1/2 pints (I use half for one meal and freeze the rest- this recipe makes about enough to coat 2 lbs. of fresh pasta).
Cook Time: about 30 minutes
- 1/2 lb. fresh basil
- 1 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 2/3 c. filted water
- 1/2 c. walnuts (or pine-nuts, for tradition pesto)
- 8 oz. parmesan cheese, shredded (4 oz. to go in the pesto, 4 oz. to stir into the cooked pasta when it’s hot off the stove)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 lb. fresh spaghetti noodles, for serving (although dry spaghetti is fine too- I just bought fresh spaghetti at the farmers market the other day and I wanted to use it)
1. Wash basil and remove leaves from the stems. Combine basil leaves, olive oil, water, walnuts, 4 oz. parmesan cheese, garlic, and pepper in a food processor and pulse to combine. Scrape down the sides a few time to make sure everything is adequately blended together.
2. Cook spaghetti in salted water. Drain, and return to the pot while still hot. Pour half the pesto sauce over the noodles. Add in remaining 4 oz. cheese. Gently fold everything together with a spatula to combine. Add a crack of black pepper and sprinkle of cheese if you want.
3. Pour a glass of wine, eat noodles, and stop thinking about stressful things.
By the way, if you make this and want to save the other half of the pesto sauce, pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top of it so that it doesn’t turn brown. It will keep in the fridge for several days or in the freezer for several months. It might last longer than that, but I love pesto so it doesn’t really survive that long in our house.