Friday, August 27, 2010

Pesto, Pasta and Squash

One of the fun things about getting a CSA is that you never know what you might get. Rather than eating the same ol same olds, you get to be creative and explore. One item that has been showing up in our CSA often is basil. Basil is such a wonderful plant. It is considered a spice, but can also be eaten as a vegetable.

Though there is always a use for basil. We decided to take this weeks share and make fresh pesto out of it. Ever since moving out of my folks house at the age of 18, spaghetti is a staple diet for 90% of everyone I know. In our house, we still have it at least once a week. To give the noodles a flare, we occasionally mix in pesto instead of red sauce. What is even more exciting is when you make pesto out of fresh basil.

It always impresses me when my wife cooks. Though we cook nearly every night, last nights spaghetti dinner inspired me to post about it. Even a plain pasta dinner can be fixed so that it is not only exotic but delicious. The following is my wife's age old family recipe (ok just off the Internet but I am sure it is an age old family receipt) for pesto:

4c basil, 1/2 c olive oil, 1/3 c pine nuts, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 c Parmesan cheese, 1t salt.

As with me and recipe sthis is just a guideline for approximate ratios of ingredients. This night we ran out of pine nuts so substituted with walnuts. We also deleted the salt cause there is way too much salt in everything we eat already. And just for poops and giggles, some sun dried tomatoes were thrown into the mix. The entire concoction was whipped up in a food processor.

I have been learning to like whole wheat pastas. Failing, but trying. Recently we found a whole wheat pasta that I think is decent. Garofalo by La Pasta Di Grangnano. Their 100% whole wheat organic spaghetti, has excellent texture and a complex flavor. One forgets that it is simply spaghetti that is melting in you mouth.

One final touch that can give your dull pasta a kick is to add some squash to it. I am not talking about some grilled squash to the sauce, but to add it right to the noodles themselves. This was a tip gained from some reality TV show. With a grater shred some squash up into long shreds. Dump this into boiling water the same time as you throw in the raw spaghetti. From then on out simply forget the you have squash in with your noddles and cook accordingly.

Bon appetit

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