Et Tu, Basil?

We only ever use wild Parmesan cheese. I find it so much more flavorful, not to mention ecologically sustainable, than farmed Parm.

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.

This makes me think of a class picture; the mini yellow pepper feels fat so she's hiding behind the zucchini. The sausage is all full of himself and thrusting his assets into the foreground. In the middle, cheerleader zucchini huddle for strength in numbers, and to borrow each others' lipgloss; underneath them all, the studious, mild-mannered Honor Roll noodles

Basil Caesar Pasta

1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 anchovy
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!


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