It’s been a while since I last posted. When I really thought about it I could blame it on a few things. I was definitely cooking, but mostly recipes that were easy and that I’d posted already. Or, I was away and forgot my camera. I was beginning to feel like it was too much of a job and I needed a break to rejuvenate my passion for creating, cooking and cataloging recipes on this blog. And, I ultimately new that the end of summer was looming and the all to familiar schedule of rushing kids out in the morning with a home cooked breakfast and lunch was a mere three weeks away.
I enjoy every change in season that living on the east coast provides, but I enjoy summer just a bit more because of the unscheduled freedom it affords. The kids are home, the days are long and lazy, the nights are filled with fireflies and meals are…simpler. As the song goes, “summertime and the livin’ is easy.”
With the last bits of summer left and the remnants of my potted herbs languishing on my front porch, I cobbled together this delicious and fresh pasta dish. I love gemelli pasta for this dish because the spiral shapes grab the pesto and fill every bite. The chopped grape tomatoes keep the pesto form getting to heavy. A touch of lemon in this pesto helps too. (For a pesto without lemon see my recipe for Easy Pesto.)
Make this recipe, sit on your front porch or deck and enjoy the last bits of summer and all that it offers.
1 lb gemelli pasta (my favorite brand is Barilla) cooked to package directions for al dente
1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water
1/2 tbs butter per serving
For the pesto:
2 cups fresh basil (leaves removed from stems)
1 large clove garlic
1/3 cup almonds (or pine nuts)
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
red pepper flake and more Parmesan cheese to add before serving
Cook the pasta according to the package directions for al dente in lots of well salted boiling water. Before you drain the pasta, reserve some of the liquid to add to the pesto to make a sauce.
Meanwhile add the garlic, almonds, cheese and zest to the bowl of your food processor. Process to a fine crumb. Add the basil leaves and lemon juice and give it a whirl until it looks like you have fine green crumbs. With the processor running, drizzle in about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil until you get the consistency you desire.
To serve, place a small pad of butter in your pasta bowl, top with a helping of the warm pasta, a tablespoon or so of pesto, a drizzle of the pasta cooking water and toss to combine. Top with the sliced tomatoes, grated Parmesan cheese and a dusting of red pepper flake.
Plays well with others: Serve this pesto on a baguette with fresh mozzarella cheese and tomato sandwiches. Use in Ham, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Cups. Keeps in a mason jar up in the fridge up to a month. Freeze tablespoons of pesto in ice cube trays to drop into soups all winter long!