Monday, September 20, 2010

Meatless Monday: Backyard Pesto with Homemade Fettucine

With summer truly ending I thought I should take advantage of the beautiful and numerous basil plants the boy planted for me this summer.  I also have a brand new and shiny KitchenAid Mixer with pasta attachment, that we got as a wedding gift, that I was dying to try out.  Pesto is one of my favorite sauces, since it's no-cook and packed with fresh flavor it makes for a tasty and simple dinner and ine that is perfect for Meatless Monday.

When I studied in Florence in college I learned how to make and serve basil pesto the way they make it in Genoa which includes cooking cubed potatoes and string beans with your pasta to be tossed with the pesto.  I'm calling this Backyard Pesto because the basil literally came from my backyard and the potatoes and beans came from my local farmer's market which living in the city is close enough to my backyard for things like beans and potatoes.  I'd love to grow my own beans and potatoes but we just don't have the space, someday my dream farmhouse will though.  Until then I'll happily make do with the fabulous locally grown produce we get at our farmers market.

Backyard Pesto Genovese with Homemade Fettuccine

1/4 cup pine nuts
2 1/2 cups basil leaves - packed
3 cloves garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - about 1/2 cup or more
1/2 cup grated parmiginao reggiano
2 handfuls of fresh Ontario green beans - trimmed

5 small white Ontario potatoes - cut into 1-2" cubes1 lb homemade or dried pasta (see recipe below for homemade)
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

1.  In a small frying pan toast the pine nuts over medium heat, being careful not to burn them.
2.  In a food processor or blender pulse to combine the basil leaves and garlic.  Add in the toasted pine nuts and pulse to chop and combine.
3.  With the food processor or blender running carefully stream in the olive oil until the sauce comes together.  Add in grated parmigiano and pulse to combine.  Set sauce aside.
4.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Once boiling, salt the water liberally.  If using dried pasta add in the pasta, beans and potatoes at the same time and cook according to the pastas directions for al dente.  If using fresh pasta add potatoes and beans and boil for 5 minutes before adding fresh pasta, cook for 3 minutes.
5.  Strain pasta, potatoes and beans and carefully toss with the pesto and salt & pepper to taste. 

Kitchenaid Basic Egg Pasta

4 large eggs
1 Tbsp water
3 1/2 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

1. Place eggs, water, flour and salt in mixer bowl.  Attach bowl and flat beater. Turn to speed 2 and mix for 30 seconds
2.  Exchange flat beater for dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and knead 2 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Let it rest for 20 minutes. Divide dough into 4 pieces before passing through pasta machine and cutting as desired.

The boy loves this dish and I love that it's practically a full meal in a bowl without being a casserole.  We ate it with a tomato and red onion salad out on the back patio. Since the al fresco dining is just about over here in Toronto we take advantage of what we have left.  It was reminiscent of summer and a perfect Meatless Monday.

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