It’s officially summer!
At least, that’s what Wheat proclaimed as I started cutting our basil for pesto pasta. It is his absolute favorite!
This year, we grew (from left to right) Lemon Basil, Purple Basil, and Sweet Basil, all from seed. So we have waited perhaps a little longer than those who started from purchased plants, but the wait was worth it!
Pesto Pasta with Grilled Zucchini and Chicken (serves 2)
-two chicken breasts, seasoned with olive oil, herbes de provence, salt and pepper. Or you can use Italian seasoning, or just salt and pepper.
– 3 zucchini, sliced and seasoned the same as the chicken and grilled alongside it
for the pesto
– as much basil as you can pick without demolishing your herb garden
– a few tablespoons of good olive oil, depending on how much basil you picked
– one or two cloves of peeled garlic
– salt and pepper to taste, a little heavier on the pepper
– a splash of lemon juice, maybe a tablespoon, or more to taste
– 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, or walnuts or pecans. I really just do a small handful.
– 2 or 3 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese (or another small handful)
You can chop all of this up by hand, which makes for a really beautiful pesto, but it’s a whole lot easier to dump it all into a food processor. Add a little bit of this and a little bit of that until it tastes just right to you. I like to go heavy on the lemon juice to lighten and brighten it up. This pesto is great not just on pasta, by the way. It’s awesome as a spread on crusty fresh bread, in other recipes, it’s REALLY good on tortellini pasta… basically fresh pesto > store bought. If you don’t want to use it right away, you can store it in a glass container, covered with olive oil, and it will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.
for the pasta
After grilling your chicken and zucchini, slice it all up and set aside.
Cook your pasta according to box directions (I really prefer angel hair pasta, but I already had the bowties and they were fun, too). To serve, layer pasta, a drizzle of olive oil, then pesto, then chicken on a plate, then top with parmesan cheese.
Best enjoyed with a glass of white wine al fresco. :)