Grilled, of course.
So even though this pasta is “spring pasta”, most of these veggies are more like summer veggies. But that’s ok. You don’t need to go around calling it Pasta Estate to be more correct, mostly because you’ll be conjuring images of either sprawling plantations built on the exploited labor of legions of beleaguered underpaid pasta makers, or really giant structures of fusilli artfully glued into a palatial replica. Either way, not really what we’re going for.
Basically, use whatever veggies you want.
I’ve made this dish twice in the last two days. Mostly because Todd’s blue plates make all food look sickly.
But when Todd and I made it, we went to the farmer’s market and just bought what looked good. If you have this option, that’s awesome. There wasn’t a convenient farmer’s market today, so I went to HarvesTime (how do I love thee, let me count…), and I got –
1 small eggplant
1 yellow squash
1 red pepper, roasted
1 bunch asparagus (now out of season)
1/4 lb mushrooms
Heat grill pan to ripping hot. While that’s happening, chop the tomatoes and lightly salt them in a large bowl.
That way, by the time the rest of the vegetables are ready, the salt has drawn the excess water out of the tomatoes. You can just pour it off and not water down your salad.
Cut large planks or pieces from the vegetables. Brush with oil and season salt and pepper.
Grill all vegetables until marked and just tender.
They shouldn’t disintegrate when you try to chop them. They should be soft, but hold their shape.
While vegetables are grilling, start a pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta o’ choice according to instructions on package. (or make your own).
Make pesto –
1/4 cup almonds
1 cup basil
1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 garlic cloves, minced
healthy squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
First, in a blender (best choice) or food processor (acceptable choice) or mortar and pestle (rustic but acceptable choice), grind the almonds.
and process until chopped fine.
Pulse the blender or food processor while gradually adding olive oil until desired consistency is reached. If you’re using a mortar and pestle, just at this point transfer your almonds and basil to a bowl and drizze the olive oil in gradually while mixing with a spoon.
Then add your parmesan and garlic, salt and pepper and pulse briefly. The reason is because if you overprocess garlic it gets bitter. And raw, it’s already a little bitter. So process it as little as you can. You may need to add a little more oil to loosen it after adding the parmesan. Then add the healthy squeeze of lemon.
Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper, or lemon juice as needed.
Chop the vegetables into pieces and toss together with a splash of balsamic or lemon juice. Taste for seasoning, adjust.
Toss a little pesto with some noodles –
Add a handful of vegetables, toss again to coat with pesto.
Top with a few more vegetables for presentation and a small grate of parmesan.