The basil has started rolling in–not yet in copious enough amounts for pesto, but give it a few weeks. If you have only a bunch, that has been only slightly denuded for use on a pizza Marguerita,this is the pasta to make. It’s dressed with a light, caesar-inspired sauce and then tossed with the basil just before serving. When I made it, I added some grilled sausages and vegetables left over from the night before. This is really an easy weeknight meal that can come together in the time it takes you to boil the pasta. And yes, I am fully aware that in writing this way, I sound like the bizarre love child of Nigella and Good Housekeeping.
Basil Caesar Pasta
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of one medium-sized lemon
1 lemons’ worth of zest
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 small bunch basil, chiffonaded
½ box of your favorite pasta
1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
Combine the oil and garlic in a small pot over low heat. Add the anchovy, mashing it. When the garlic is fragrant, but before it burns, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the mixture to a small bowl, preferably a high-sided one you can use an immersion blender in. When the oil has cooled, add the lemon juice, lemon zest, parmesan cheese and perhaps a ½ cup of the reserved pasta water. Blend until this becomes a smooth sauce. If it is too thick, add more of the pasta water. Toss the pasta in the sauce, add the basil and toss again, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Stay tuned for further installments of my “Speedy Weeknight” dinner series!