Basil always brings back childhood summers and my mother's bountiful
garden. It is a natural teamed with tomatoes and of course a classic with
I use this recipe for hot pasta and also as a basis for cold pasta salads.
It is potent so that in a salad this amount will dress up as much as two
pounds of pasta if you are adding other seasonings and more olive oil.
(Experiment, some pasta seems more absorbent than others.) This recipe
will give you six servings for hot pasta, using 1-1/2 lbs.
2 c. fresh basil leaves
2/3 c. olive oil
2 T. walnuts
2 cloves garlic
2/3 c. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Process in processor with steel blade to a rough paste. Stir in grated
cheese. Spoon over hot pasta and toss.
IF FREEZING (and I do this all the time), do not add
cheese. Bring frozen Pesto to room temperature and add cheese while tossing.
Some remarks on Pasta Salads: Now that they
have become very much part of our repertoire, I feel more relaxed about
them and have done some experimenting. Look for unusual shapes in Italian
delis or specialty stores. Fresh pasta shops will have colorful alternatives
(spinach, carrot, tomato, basil) or make your own. Think about the colors--pasta,
vegetables, seafood, poultry, meat-and the melding of flavor.
I sometimes use Pesto as the basis for the flavoring and the oil, adding
additional lemon juice and/or vinegar. Once you make a few pasta salads,
you will feel more confident about trying something unique.