Kitchen Creations

Monday, February 13, 2012

Party in your mouth pesto!

I just made this tonight and I will say it is probably one of my most favorite meals.  So incredibly flavorful!  My older son ate 3 bowls!!  This is another Rachel Ray, 30 minute meal favorite.  It is a perfect summer meal, when you can get the vegetables fresh, possibly from your very own garden. We've found we enjoy it just about any time of the year though.  The vegetables used in her recipe are asparagus, zucchini & green beans.  I've substituted broccoli for the asparagus and the end result is delicious as well.  Use your imagination and put in the vegetables your family loves most. It is perfect for a main dish or a side, just depending on portion.  The pesto is incredibly flavorful and I love knowing how to make it and use it on other dishes. 

Enjoy a pesto party with your loved ones!

Three-Vegetable Penne with Tarragon-Basil Pesto 
1 pound penne rigate pasta (I use whole wheat - it makes it that much more filling)
1/2 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed
1 small zucchini
1/4 pound haricots verts (thin green beans) - I use regular green beans - trim stem ends
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1 cup fresh basil - about 20 leaves
1/2 cup fresh tarragon, leaves stripped from 10-12 stems
handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley
zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
coarse black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1.)  Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook to aldente, it should still have a bite to it. SAVE A LADLE FULL OF THE PASTA WATER!!
2.)  Cut the asparagus spears on an angle into 2-inch pieces.Cut the zucchini into matchsticks.Cut the beans on an angle into 2-inch pieces.Add the vegetables to the pot with the pasta after the penne has been cooking for about 5 minutes.
3.)  Boil veggies and pasta together for 2 minutes
4.)  While the pasta is cooking, toast the pine nuts until golden, then cool.

5.) Combine nuts, basil, tarragon, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, 1/2 cup of cheese and a little salt and pepper into food processor.

6.)  While processing, stream in the olive oil until a thick sauce forms.

7.)  Scrape the pesto into a large serving dish or bowl. Add a ladle of hot, starchy pasta water to the pesto. 8.)  Drain the penne and veggies and  add them to the pesto, toss together, coating the pasta and vegetables evenly.

9.)  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.

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