Tag Archives: pasta

corn pesto

cancel all plans and make this for dinner/lunch/supper!  it is sweet corn season!  after eating cob after cob, this pesto is something different but familiar and can only be made in the summer with fresh sweet corn cut off the cob.  this pasta dish takes advantage of all of the things i look forward to in the summer, namely corn, tomatoes, and basil.  it is quite similar to traditional pesto but with the addition of corn.  the starch from the corn makes the sauce naturally very creamy and sauces the pasta quite easily.  i added halved cherry tomatoes to the mix for some brightness and acidity, but you can leave them out or add other ingredients like a bit of chopped olive, roasted peppers or summer squash, or if you eat it, bacon.

pasta with fresh corn pesto

adapted from bon appetit

corn cut from 4 ears of corn

1 shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

handful of walnuts or pinenuts

olive oil

parmesan cheese

very large handful of fresh basil, chopped

your choice of pasta (use a long type of noodle like linguine, tagliatelle, or, in a pinch, spaghetti will do)

3/4 of a pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

heat a skillet over medium heat with about a tablespoon of olive oil and sautee the shallot and garlic until translucent.  add the corn and turn up the heat a bit and cook until the corn is tender.  transfer most of the corn (reserving maybe a cup or so) to a food processor or blender.  add the nuts, generous shaving of Parmesan cheese, handful of basil, salt, pepper, and a nice glug of olive oil.  blender or process until mostly smooth.

meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente and drain, reserving a cup or two of the pasta liquid.  toss the pasta with the pesto and tomatoes, adding as much cooking liquid needed to thin everything out to the proper consistency.  sprinkle the remaining basil and serve with more Parmesan if needed.

*note:  this is also very tasty cold the next night sitting at the park during sunset.

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swiss chard and bread crumbs

I used to make pasta dishes about once a week.  these days, i seem to be cooking and eating lots soups or roasted vegetables.  this sort of simple pasta dish is perfect before or after a long run.  Use any green that you have on hand.  the swiss chard was very tender in the end so i might use a sturdier green next time, like kale or rapini.  chickpeas or other beans help bulk up the pasta with some protein.  the bread crumbs provide a really nice texture against the softness of the pasta and the goat cheese gives a tiny bit of acidity that is needed.

swiss chard, chickpea, bread crumb, and goat cheese pasta

whole wheat linguini or other pasta (i used maybe 1/3 of a standard package)

1 medium onion diced

2 cloves garlic minced

1 large bunch of greens (swiss chard, kale, rapini, etc.) washed and sliced into ribbons

1 can of chickpeas or other bean

red pepper flakes

wine or stock for deglazing

balsamic vinegar

fresh breadcrumbs (make them yourself with old bread and a blender or food processor)

goat cheese and parmigiano to taste

parsley, finely chopped

set a large pot of water to boil, salt the water and add the pasta.  in a large sautee pan, heat a spoonful of olive oil and add the onion until translucent.  add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.  add a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes and the drained chickpeas.  deglaze the pan with some wine or stock and add the greens.  cover and cook until tender.  meanwhile, toast the breadcrumbs with a bit of butter.  when the greens have wilted, add a swirl of balsamic vinegar and toss.  drain the pasta and add to the greens.  make sure everything is well seasoned and add some pasta water so the sauce comes together.  serve with crumbled goat cheese, parmigiano shavings, breadcrumbs, and parsley.

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eggplant and tomato pesto

IMG_2458living in california is pretty wonderful sometimes.  it is november and the farmers market is still selling heirloom tomatoes and eggplants.  i wanted to deepen the flavors of vegetables by roasting and wanted to make something that could be pretty versatile.  while i was roasting the eggplant and tomatoes, i sauteed an onion and fried some capers.  blending everything together into a thick “pesto” makes for a sauce that you can toss with hot pasta or other vegetables, spread on sandwiches or top a baked potato.

roasted eggplant and tomato pesto

several eggplants (i used the slender japanese eggplants to minimize any bitterness)

3 or 4 large tomatoes or several big handfuls of cherry tomatoes

1 medium onion diced

3 cloves of garlic chopped

2 tbsp capers drained

2 tbsp tomato paste

chopped fresh herbs such as parsley or basil

sherry vinegar, red pepper flakes

olive oil

chop the eggplant and tomatoes into largish chunks and toss with salt and pepper.  roast in a 375-400 degrees oven until tender and golden brown.  meanwhile saute the onion and garlic until soft and golden with red pepper flakes.  add the capers and heat until they start to brown.  stir in the tomato paste and herbs and set aside.  after the vegetables are done roasting, combine everything in a blender and pulse until combined.  the mixture will be very thick so add a bit of pasta water or stock to thin it out.  pour back into the pan and heat, adjusting the seasonings if necessary with sherry vinegar and salt and pepper.

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