Thursday, September 18, 2014

Pesto & Pasta

When I first started babysitting/nannying at the young age of 12, the family and kids I spent the next ten years watching were huge pasta lovers. The parents lived in Italy for four years and they brought their love of Italian food back to Connecticut. They started me on my obsessive love of pasta and definitely introduced me to pesto. The mother, Danielle, was a great cook and always made her sauces from scratch and then froze them for the kids and I. Her pesto sauce was one of my favorites! And even though I've evolved my pesto recipe over the years- I still think of her and her beautiful daughters when I make my pesto. Love you Leinroths!!

My pesto is light and so fresh. I definitely recommend doubling the recipe and freezing the leftovers. It adds such great flavors to pastas, meatballs, chicken, eggs- honestly anything!! Pesto makes the world a better place. 


1 1/2 cups basil,  packed
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup pine nuts 

3 tbs water 
1 large garlic clove, minced 
Juice of 1/2 lemon 

Small pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil 
Few cracks of fresh black pepper 
Salt- to taste. 

Blender or food processor 
Wooden spoon 

Add all the ingredients to the blender or food processor except the olive oil and salt. Turn on the machine and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. You might have to stop the machine a couple times to push down the leaves or scrape the sides. Taste the pesto and add salt if you feel it's necessary. A lot of the time the Parmesan is salty enough for it. 

Store in an air tight container- I use mason jars- in the fridge. This lasts a couple weeks in the fridge or a few months in the freezer. It's nice to freeze in an ice cube tray and just defrost a cube or two when you need it. 

Pesto Pasta with Veggies 

1/2 cup pesto 

1 small yellow squash, sliced thin
2 large handfuls of baby spinach 

1 medium tomato, diced small
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced

3/4 lb (12 oz) pasta of your choice- I used rigatoni 
1/2 tsp salt or to taste 
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper or to taste 
2 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup pasta cooking water 

Large sauté pan
Large pot of boiling salted water 
Wooden spoon
Cutting board
Chopping knife
Measuring cups

Add the pasta to the boiling salted water. Cook for until almost al dente. Usually 8-10 minutes. Drain in the colander, making sure to reserve 1/4 cup of starchy water for the pasta sauce. 

While pasta cooks, hear the olive oil in the sauté pan over medium to high heat.
Add the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until they have softened. Add the yellow squash and sauté for a minute before adding the two large handfuls of baby spinach. Pour the pasta water over the spinach to encourage cooking and add the pesto to the center of the sauté pan. Stir all the vegetables and pesto together. You can turn the heat down to medium low now. 

At this point the pasta should be ready. Pour the hot drained pasta into the sauté pan and mix well covering with the pesto and vegetables. Cook for a minute while still stirring and turn off the heat. Add the fresh tomatoes at the end and stir in. They will warm in the sauce but hold their shape. Add the salt and pepper to taste. 

Enjoy this! The kids loved it also! Allie thought the "green sauce" looked cool! Xo

No comments:

Post a Comment