Thursday, March 6, 2014

Note to Self: Next Summer, Make More Pesto!

My belly will be very sad when it realizes that the last of the pesto I made from my basil harvest in the garden this summer was part of tonight's (delicious) dinner.  The pesto was really tasty, and I am very sad there will be no more until the next harvest of basil comes in.  I am especially sad because the current weather reminds me that this is going to be months & months away!

Tonight's dinner was inspired by receiving this week's produce delivery box, and realizing that we had to use up some of last week's delivery so we could fit everything in the fridge!  I ended up making a quick & easy pasta with the pesto, tomatoes, mushrooms & spinach, and then a quick little salad.

Here's what you will need to make it yourself:

Squiggly pasta shapes (I used a combo of fusilli and scooby doo/cavatappi noodles, since they were open)
1/2 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes
2 cremini mushrooms, sliced
a large handful of spinach, washed & sliced thinly
1/2 small zucchini, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 small red onion, diced
olives - the black, wrinkly kind (optional) - as many as you like, because this one is really subjective
olive oil for frying
4 ice cubes worth of pesto (or about 4 tablespoons)

Start cooking your pasta as per package directions.
Heat up the olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan or large saucepan.  When the oil is warm, add your onion, and cook, stirring occasionally until starting to soften.  Add the garlic and spinach and cook another two minutes.  Dump in your cherry tomatoes, zucchini and mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until everything is warmed through and the tomatoes start to wrinkle a little.  Then add your pesto and olives (if using).
At this point, your pasta should be cooked.  Drain off most of the water, and then add the pasta & remaining water to to your pan of sauce and stir/toss so the pasta gets completely coated.  Leave on low heat if you think it needs a little more cooking time, or you haven't started the salad yet because there is a toddler demanding your attention by holding onto your knee and yelling.

If you choose not to use olives in the pasta, I would recommend maybe adding some chili flakes, or some parmesan or other stronger, salty cheese, just to give it that little extra kick.

The salad I made was just a quick toss of romaine lettuce, two small, sliced carrots, orange bell pepper and avocado, since those were the quick veggies to hand.

I hope this is something you can use during your hectic days, since it comes together in just over the time it takes for the pasta to cook.


  1. Sounds great! Hopefully new basil cubes aren't that far off (summer has to come soon, right??). The frozen basil cubes are such a great idea!!!

    1. I'm very much looking forward to summer, and my ice cube trays are all ready for the next bunch of basil :)