Most days, I am a lazy cook. I can't be bothered to run out and get ingredients to make a particular dish, or even plan meals. I just try to prepare something enjoyable using ingredients I have at home. For the most part, if I am creative and attentive, this means fresh meals out of seasonal ingredients. Sometimes it means a bunch of spinach wilting away at the back of the crisper drawer because I forgot all about it. I try to avoid these mishaps, but, er, they happen.
Here's a dish I threw together using very simple seasonal ingredients. I used rice noodles, as one of the diners was gluten-free, but you could use any pasta you like. It's really just a pasta primavera tossed in homemade pesto. That's it. But it makes a great weekday lunch or dinner. You can make the pesto in advance and store it in a jar with some olive oil on top to keep it from browning.
Summer pasta with makeshift pesto
For the pesto:
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
1 large bunch fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
- Process pesto ingredients in a food processor until minced.
- Pour in olive oil until it reaches the consistency of a wet paste.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Store in a jar and cover with olive oil before sealing the jar.
For the pasta:
1 pkg fettuccine
3 carrots, thickly julienned
1 fennel bulb, thickly julienned
1 clove garlic, minced
2 handfuls cheese curds
- Cook and drain the fettuccine, reserving some of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with olive oil.
- Place the pot in which you cooked the pasta on medium heat and add olive oil to the pot.
- Sauté the carrots, fennel, and garlic. Remove from heat when vegetables are tender.
- Add the pasta to the pot with two heaping tablespoons of pesto. Pour in a little pasta water to loosen the pesto and moisten the pasta. Mix and repeat if necessary.
- Crumble in small pieces of cheese curds.