Pesto & Poetry – “Emerald Pesto Tossed with Trotolle Pasta”

Emerald Ice

Have you ever made deep-of-summer pesto? Do you ever sit and sip and read poetry on a warm night?

Many years ago I discovered my love of both and as I made pesto a few days ago using the emerald-green basil from our garden I remembered how much I love the prose-like poetry of Diane Wakoski. Especially a book of her poems entitled “Emerald Ice”. The selection above is from the first few lines of the first poem in this collection.

So here is a quick pesto using deep-green Basil leaves, a bit of sassy-green Arugula and the slightest-green pistachios. Tossed with a hearty & hollow Trotolle pasta…the pesto seeping onto and into the noodles…edible poetry!

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A few handfuls of Basil leaves & Arugula, fresh lime juice, shelled pistachios & a good olive oil is all you need.

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Emerald green pesto……

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…tossed with some al dente Trotolle, also called “spins” as they look like little spinning tops. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan. This is pretty much…along with love…all you need.

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Emerald Pesto tossed with Trottole Pasta

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 handful fresh arugula leaves
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 8 to 12 ounces Trottole pasta noodles cooked al dente (or any other short pasta)
  • additional shredded Parmesan cheese to top
  • salt &  black pepper optional (the lime juice and Parmesan will add a natural saltiness)

Directions:

  1. Place the pistachios in a food processor and pulse a few times.
  2. Add basil and arugula leaves. Pulse again 2 or 3 times.
  3. Add Parmesan and lime juice and pulse.
  4. With the processor running quickly drizzle in olive oil to your liking.
  5. Scrape finished pesto out of the processor bowl into a jar. Toss some of the pesto with hot, cooked & drained Trottole pasta. Scatter additional Parmesan cheese over the top of each serving and enjoy. Salt & pepper if desired.

Store any leftover pesto in a jar in the refrigerator or freezer for later use. I usually make extra while I am at it and freeze small jars for winter dishes.

“Kale, Kale, Beautiful Kale, Pesto”

kale leaf

Big beautiful bunches of Kale...Red Russian with its purplish-red stems & lacy tips, Lacinato Kale very sturdy with the deepest dark green color, and our old, familiar favorite, Curly Kale rather fluffy with white stems & veins all piled high and dewy fresh at the Nashville Farmer’s Market.

Like the “it girl”, Kale, is the “it green”…the green “of the moment”…the “if you own a restaurant in this century Kale is a must for your menu” green…unless you have been living under a rock or off-the-grid completely you know this…right? Right.

To celebrate the “it-ness” of Kale, it’s bounty, beauty and health benefits I came up with this oh-so-easy recipe for “Kale, Beautiful Kale, Pesto“.

Kale Pesto on Pasta

Here is all you will need:

1 bunch of Kale, rinsed & patted dry, middle stem trimmed out, leaves broken into bite-size pieces.

2 garlic cloves, 1 cup toasted walnuts, 1 cup shredded Gruyère Cheese, good olive oil, 1 lemon, sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, plus a chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano to grate over servings.

Kales Pesto Ingredients

Here is all you need to do:

1. Place garlic cloves & walnuts in a food processor fitted with the cutting blade. Pulse until nuts & garlic are chopped, but not too finely.

ground walnuts

2. Add Kale pieces, fresh lemon juice & sea salt to processor bowl. Pulse while adding about 1/2 to 3/4 cup olive oil to mixture. Stop & scrape down bowl if you need to. Add Gruyère to the mix and pulse a few times to make a nice paste. Add more or less oil depending on how you like your pesto. I prefer a chunkier, less oily pesto.

lemon juice and Kale

Kale Pesto

3. Top a bowl of hot pasta with a dollop of Kale Pesto, grind some black pepper on top,  add some freshly grated Parmesan..and a glass of a crispy chilled wine. So far, so good October!

kale pesto

Get your “green” on….Eat more Kale, y’all.

“Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas and Pesto Salad”

fergola sarda pasta salad

Labor Day is almost here. The day that heralds the end of summer and the beginning of fall…..somewhere. Labor Day here in Nashville heralds our hottest days and nights, hours of watering gardens & lawns or just giving up and letting it all go to seed. Plump ripe tomatoes, the last of the Lady Peas at the Farmer’s Market and at my house absolutely no desire to fire up the oven. Supper has to be short & a bit sassy, using whatever I can lay my hands on…healthy & colorful is always good…a little crunch…a glass of cool white wine. That is truly about all I can deal with.

Enter, stage left….Fergola Sarda. Have you heard of it? I had not until recently when perusing the shelves of Lazzaroli’s Pasta down the street from my house here on Fifth Avenue North. My eyes alighted on a bag of pasta that contained tiny round, lightly toasted looking balls…like giant Israeli Couscous, but not.

Fergola Sarda Pasta

Fergola Sarda is pasta from the region of Sardinia, Italy. A staple in the Sardinian kitchen this little pasta is actually toasted in an oven which gives it a very rustic appearance & homey flavor. Don’t you love a new food find?

Using other ingredients on hand here is my recipe for “Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas, and Pesto Salad”.

Ingredients I used:

1 cup Fergola Sarda Pasta cooked al dente according to the package directions; 1 cup Lady Peas (a variety of field peas which include among others Crowder peas, Butter beans, use any of these for this recipe) cooked; sliced Cucumbers & Avocados; quartered homegrown tomatoes; red onion slivers; the juice of 1 lemon, sea salt & freshly ground black pepper; freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, 1 cup of your favorite homemade or store-bought pesto (1/2 cup for mixing in salad & 1/2 cup for serving) & a splash each of olive oil & white balsamic vinegar

Print Full Recipe Here

Fergola Sarda Pasta Ingredients

When the Fergola Sarda Pasta is cooked al dente & drained, pile it in a serving dish. I used a deep platter. The golden color is so appealing isn’t it? I am just a bit smitten.

uncooked fergola sarda pasta

cooked

Ingredients for Fergola Sarda Pasta Salad

I really like the addition of raw onions to a dish such as this salad, but often not the overbearing strong flavor which can take over the others. Here is my tip for “sweetening the onion”. Put your sliced, diced, chopped onions in a bowl. Toss with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Let sit for about 1/2 hour. Drain and add to your recipe. Taste one. You will be amazed at the way the lemon juice totally takes away the harshness of some onions.

red onions & lemon juice

Cooking Lady Peas for this salad is very easy. I rinse fresh peas & drain in a colander. I then cook them in a saucepan barely covered with water, adding some salt & pepper, a dash of garlic powder & a couple of pats of butter. Bring to a boil, turn to simmer for about 20 minutes or until peas have absorbed some of the liquid. Peas are ready for this salad when you press one between your fingers and it “gives”.  Drain cooked peas in a colander allowing to cool a few minutes.

Lady Peas

Add all remaining ingredients to pasta and toss gently.

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Serve immediately or chill for later. Dollop additional pesto on side of plates when serving as well as a generous grating of Parmesan. “Fergola Sarda Pasta, Lady Peas & Pesto Salad” perfect as is for an entrée, would be a tasty companion to alongside grilled chicken for a dinner party.

Fergola Sarda, Lady Peas & Pesto Salad

Don’t work too hard this Labor Day, summer is fleeting, enjoy it. Stay Cool.

Once Upon a Time in the West….”New Mexican Chile Pesto”

I love a great American road trip…one of the best is to drive to Santa Fe via Route 66 and I-40….East to West to East. Just got back from a week or so on the road where many sites were seen, much food eaten, an abundance of conversation, laughter & awe ensued. Some of  stops along the roadways were delicious stops, some iconic, a historical stop or two &  some truly poignant imagery was seen.

“Once Upon a Time in the West……”

A simple recipe for “New Mexico Chile Pesto” 
Pesto Ingredients: 3 roasted, stemmed & peeled New Mexican Chiles (I had some in the freezer from the last trip); 2 handfuls fresh basil; 1/2 to 1 cup toasted pine/Pinon nuts; 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese; Juice of one fresh lime;olive oil to drizzle
To Make:
1. Place chiles, basil leaves & pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse until chunky. Scrape down sides of processor bowl.
2. Add in Parmesan & squeeze in fresh lime juice. Pulse a few times. I like a more chunky pesto so I don’t over process. You can process to your liking.
3. Add about 1/3 cup olive oil and pulse a few times.
I have been experimenting this summer with gluten-free pastas and bread products. A box of Quinoa pasta was in my pantry that I thought would go well with this pesto. I was right. The Quinoa pasta was just the right texture to stand up to this very spicy pesto. I found this and many other gluten-free pastas at The Turnip Truck here in Nashville. There is absolutely none of the sometimes unpleasant texture or taste that gluten-free products can have.
To Serve:
I picked a few little tomatoes from my heat-stroked garden and cut them up. Cooked the pasta al dente. Partially drained the pasta and returned it “wet” back to the pan….added a few dollops of the chile pesto and tossed it all together.
Movie suggestions while eating this flavorful ode to New Mexico “Once Upon a Time in the West” directed by Sergio Leone, 1968 with Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale & Jason Robards. Or how about “Cowboys and Aliens” currently in cinemas which takes place in New Mexico.
Music suggestions? There are so many…”Once Upon a Time In the West” Dire Straits, “How Will the Wolf Survive” Los Lobos, “The Border” Willie Nelson, “Willin'” Little Feat, the sound track to “All the Pretty Horses”Marty Stuart……….
 Adios…