This is a regular rotation meal for us. The entire thing is ready, start to finish, in 30 minutes. One pan. Chop as you go. BUT you must have the pesto ready to go. And while I know pesto is available pre-made in the grocery store, make it fresh just once. It will change your outlook. And then use these lovely summer weeks to gather basil, either in the garden or at the farmers market, and make a few pints of pesto for the freezer. Future you will be so happy.
4 ounces dried pasta (penne, pappardelle, rotini, etc)
About 6 small new potatoes
1 cup frozen peas
(I added squash blossoms to the pasta shown)
1/2 cup pesto (recipe follows, note information about the butter)
Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and pepper
Weigh the pasta. Seriously. Do you always make too much? The proper serving is 2 ounces.
Get a big pot of water boiling. Add a handful of salt. Make it very salty. (have you ever seen Samin salt the pasta water?)
While it’s heating, slice the potatoes. Not too thin.
Add the pasta to the boiling water. Seven minutes before the pasta is done, add the potatoes. One minute before the pasta is done, add the peas.
Scoop out and reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta, potatoes and peas and then return the mixture to the pot, treating it gently so the potatoes don’t break up.
Spoon in the pesto (this is when you would add the butter if it’s not already in the pesto) and add about half of the pasta cooking water. Stir to coat the noodles. Add more pesto or water as needed to make a creamy sauce that coats everything. Taste and add more cheese, salt, or pepper as needed. Serve hot.
Marcella’s Pesto (with my notes)
from Marcella Hazan, The Classic Italian Cook Book, Knopf
Makes about 1 cup
2 packed cups basil leaves (Around these parts, a bunch yields about 1 packed cup of basil leaves)
1/2 cup olive oil (I use a very lightly flavored oil. If yours has a strong, sharp taste, use half olive oil and half grapeseed oil)
1 large handful slivered almonds, about 1/4 cup (Pine nuts are traditional, but stories of pine nut mouth has made me swap to almonds)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon kosher salt (I used Diamond Crystal. If you use Morton’s use half the quantity listed)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (If making pesto for the freezer, add the butter when using the pesto, after defrosting.)
Place everything in the food processor (or a strong blender) and whir until smooth. The pesto can also be made in a mortar and pestle.