Thursday, June 12, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Pasta, Pesto and Peas

So this is my first official Barefoot Bloggers post. I think this will actually complement the Daring Bakers nicely because it will force me to make some real food too, rather than just insane baked goods.

I started making everything when I realized the nuts I had in the freezer were walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds but no pine nuts so I just used walnuts in the recipe and didn't add them whole to the final pasta.

I used cavatappi, also known as cellantani. That is the best shape pasta ever. I have boxes and boxes of it. I can eat them just boiled with a little butter and salt. They are so easy to pick up they are great as finger food. Well this recipe isn't really intended to be finger food probably but I like finger food. I guess with sauce on it, maybe it's a bit messy for finger food but as far as I am concerned it's good finger food.

I also used shredded parmesan because it was that, the green can stuff or spend forever grating parmesan. The shredded is an Aldi's thing that I'm pretty happy with. I pretty much always have a container of it in my fridge now and it's sooo much easier than grating it myself.

I approximately halved the pesto recipe since I don't really thing I have a use for 4 cups of pesto. This is an approximation of what I did. I don't follow recipes very well.

It came out OK. I think I under seasoned it. I never measure salt and pepper so it's hard to say. Here's a really crappy pic of it. It was too hot for me to put any sort of effort into this. I was going to leave it without a pic because it's just way too hot here for me to do anything.

Pasta Pesto and Peas
based off of this recipe by Ina Garten

1 pound cavatappi pasta
1 1/2 cups pesto, see below
1 (16-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 - 1/2 cups good mayonnaise, see below
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice.

Put some of this in a large bowl to toss the pasta in. Cook the pasta according to the box until each pasta is al dente. Drain and toss into a bowl with the pesto. Cool to room temperature.

Add the mayonnaise to the rest of the pesto and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

Copyright, 2001, Barefoot Contessa Parties!, All rights reserved

1/4 cup walnuts
5 cloves chopped garlic
1 bunch fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Place the walnuts, pignoli, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.

To clean basil, remove the leaves, swirl them in a bowl of water, and then spin them very dry in a salad spinner. Store them in a closed plastic bag with a slightly damp paper towel. As long as the leaves are dry they will stay green for several days.

based off of Alton Brown's recipe

1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 pinches sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 cup oil

In a glass bowl, whisk together egg yolk and dry ingredients. Combine lemon juice and vinegar in a separate bowl then thoroughly whisk half into the yolk mixture. Start whisking briskly, then start adding the oil a few drops at a time until the liquid seems to thicken and lighten a bit, (which means you've got an emulsion on your hands). Once you reach that point you can relax your arm a little (but just a little) and increase the oil flow to a constant (albeit thin) stream. Once half of the oil is in add the rest of the lemon juice mixture.
Continue whisking until all of the oil is incorporated.


Kirsten said...

I feel your pain with the heat. It was so hot in my kitchen I could barely move!

Natashya said...

Wow! You even made your own mayo! You are hardcore. Not to mention my hero.
We have cooled a bit today(Thurs), hope the heat is letting up for you. See you on chicken day.

Me! said...

Today definitely cooled down a bit so I can breathe and wander around a bit but I had plans to go out to dinner so no cooking but I made dough to make deep dish pizza! I was craving it a couple weeks ago and I finally made the dough so expect that post in the near future.

natashya - The mayo only took about 3 minutes to make! It's really easy and it really doesn't take that much whisking to get the emulsion going and keep it going and it really doesn't use any special ingredients. It's easier than making whipped cream before I had my stand mixer!

smellslikehome said...

love the fact that you made your own mayo - so cool!!