Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!!

Happy Independence Day, America!  After watching the fireworks over Lake Champlain last night, my husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed a restful day feeling lucky for everything we have as Americans.  Regardless of political views or opinions, July 4th seems to be one of the few days we have can all get together and enjoy what we have:  food, family, friends... and a day off of work!

I'll keep this post short and sweet, but I wanted to share this little gem of a recipe.  This dinner came together in a flash and was a light yet satisfying mid-week dinner:  Parsley, mint, and pistachios form the base of a pesto, which is tossed over strands of fettucini, summer's first zucchini, and sweet onion.  Topped with a few super sweet cherry tomatoes, and you've got yourself dinner in about 20 minutes.

Pasta with Parsley-Mint Pesto
Serves 3-5
Click here for printable recipe

1 c. flat-leaf parsley leaves, stems removed
1/3 c. fresh mint leaves (I used citrus mint for a bit of brightness, but regular mint will work just fine)
2 large basil leaves
1/4 c. shelled pistachios
1 clove garlic, lightly smashed
1/2. c. finely grated parmesan
1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
Salt, to taste

8 - 10 oz. fresh fettucini (either homemade or from the grocery refrigerator case)
2 small zucchini
1 small sweet onion

Remove the skins from the shelled pistachios:  Bring 3/4 cup of water to boil in a small saucepan.  Once boiling, add pistachios and let boil for 20-30 seconds.  Drain and transfer pistachios to a clean tea towel; let cool for 1 min, and then gather the towel into a pouch.  Roll the pistachios between the towel with your hands; and they should slip right out of their skins.

Make the pesto:  In a food processor, combine parsley, mint, basil, pistachios, garlic, parmesan, and pepper.  Pulse the mixture for 15 - 20 times to break down larger pieces.  Then, run machine continuously while you add the olive oil.  Taste and season with salt to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, remove the outer 1/4 inch of skin from the zucchini and slice into long strips about as wide as the fettucini noodles. Cut the onion in half and then into strips about the same width as the zucchini. Place a large high-sided skillet over medium heat and add a bit of olive oil. While the pasta cooks to al dente, saute the zucchini and onion until the texture softens slightly. Transfer the cooked pasta into the skillet, along with 1/4 c. of the pasta cooking water. Add 1/2 - 2/3 c. of the pesto, and toss until thoroughly mixed.

Serve immediately, topped with the cherry tomatoes if desired.

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