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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

food blog: fast pasta dinner

i have a small herb garden. well, planter box if you really want to know. and the basil is starting to flower, so it's no longer a choice whether i want to use it or not. now it's use it or lose it!
so what the heck do you do with a couple of big handfuls of basil?
around here, that's an invitation to scour the pantry and cook up something interesting.

the pictures are links back to flickr for additional sizes. i'm not too sure why the pictures came out so dark, but there you are. a photographer i'm not.

Fast Pasta with Basil and whatever is in the fridge and pantry
ingredients: your mileage may vary depending on what you have available. the beauty of these dishes rests in whipping up something good from what's available.
    Dressing
  • 2 handfuls of fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • couple of coarse grinds of pepper
  • 1 or 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp or so of extra virgin olive oil
  • throw it all in the food processor and blend. use enough oil to make a medium body sauce.
    condiment, uncooked
  • 2 small tomatoes, deseeded and chopped medium, medium fine
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped medium
  • small jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped medium. i really really like Cara Mia marinaded hearts. use ones you like, especially if you have them in your pantry/fridge.
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    condiment cooked, and pasta
  • 1 yellow summer squash, 1/2 to 3/4 inch cubes
  • 1/2 small white onion, medium chop
  • small handful of leftover red and yellow bell pepper strips (from a veggie appetizer last night), medium chop
  • couple of tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, as needed to saute veggies
  • 1 lb box of whole wheat spaghetti

process:

get the water on the stove to boil the pasta. cook pasta per package directions.
while the water is coming up to temperature, assemble and chop/buzz/saute all the other stuff. everything should be done about the same time as the pasta is.
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pick and buzz the basil condiment. makes the kitchen smell like heaven, and you should take a moment to just enjoy the aroma coming from the basil and garlic. if you have pesto, use it by all means, or if you want to add the pine nuts to make pesto out of this concoction, feel free. i probably would have had i stocked pine nuts ahead of time.

Saute (medium heat) onion, squash, and peppers until soft. kick the heat up during the last couple of minutes to get a little caramelization action going on the veggies.
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when the pasta is done, and the veggie saute is finished, drain the pasta and plate
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then spoon on as much or as little of the basil sauce as you like, and toss the pasta with tongs to distribute.
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next, top with the condiments, add a little parmesan cheese on top, and serve.
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Enjoy! this took as long as the water needed to boil, and the pasta to cook. great meal, from things in the pantry, fridge, and herb garden.

as always, if you try this recipe, or it inspires you to try something different, please let me know how it turned out. i'm always looking for fresh and clever ideas to improve my own cooking skills and recipes.

for a complete list of my online recipes, follow the link here

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2 Comments:

Blogger Brett said...

Nice!! That looks mighty tasty. I grilled some chicken dusted with rosemary and pepper, and made up a Jicama salad for dinner tonight. Quick and easy for a hot So. Cal. evening.

7/21/09, 10:59 PM  
Blogger reddog said...

Basil used to be cheap and plentiful. Canned tomatos always had basil in with it.

The Vietnamese markets around here have better quality than even premium Supers, at a quarter of the price, year round. It's really cheap in the summer.

Truthfully, I don't use it much. I get my regular fix by taking the wife out for the occasional bowl of Pho. She is more of a bean sprout girl, so I get a double handful of basil to shred into my soup. I love the extra large combo. I love it an offal lot.

7/23/09, 1:26 PM  

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