It’s my wedding anniversary! I can safely type that now, in the wee hours of July 10, and have that still be true when most people read this tomorrow. B and I were legally married on one day, and we had our wedding celebration on a separate day. It’s confusing for us, but mostly we’ve gone with 7/11 because it’s so easy to remember.
Lucky for me, I made some fresh pasta today for dinner, so I can say I did something special for day one.
Our CSA discovered summer this week, it seems, and we suddenly had a bright green bunch of basil, summer squashes, tomatoes and all sorts of warm-weather goodness. We actually got two kinds of basil, the traditional Genovese and a much smaller variety with leaves the size of oregano. I sauteed the squash and some canned Roma tomatoes (fresh ones went quickly), and I stirred those in with some pesto into fresh semolina pasta. It’s a lot more work than opening a package, and I know pasta is cheap, but there really is a lot more flavor and reward in freshly prepared noodles.
I made a hazelnut pesto because that’s the nut I had on hand. I almost never have pine nuts, so I usually make my pesto with walnuts (which it’s worth noting are much cheaper). I’m not saying it ends up tasting like traditional pesto, but it’s darn good.
Here’s how I made it:
For the pasta, combine 2 cups white flour, 1 cup semolina flour, 3 eggs, 1/3 cup water and a splash of good olive oil. Work the dough until it becomes springy, about 10 minutes by hand. Cover in plastic and let it rest.
After about 10 minutes, cut the dough in fourths. Keep the unused parts sealed to avoid drying. Using a pasta maker, thin out the dough to your desired thickness (I went with a 6 on my machine, which gives it a nice chewy bite). Let the pasta dry slightly and cut it with the tagliatelle attachment, or whatever you have and desire.
Before you cook the pasta, prepare the pesto. In a food processor, blend 1 cup hazelnuts, 1/2 cup pecorino or parmesan cheese, 1 cup basil leaves and 3 cloves of coarsely chopped garlic with the best olive oil you can get your hands on. Stream the oil in as you run the processor, using only as much as you need to get a dressing-like consistency.
I usually skimp on the oil as much as possible to keep it lean. Taste and add salt to taste, a step I skipped to my detriment.
Saute the veggies, in my case 1 thinly sliced yellow squash and 4 Roma tomatoes in olive oil. Season slightly, and mix into pasta along with pesto. Add additional cheese and pasta water as needed to coat the pasta.
Et voila! Serve hot and with extra salt and papper as needed. So easy, delicious and seasonal.