Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pasta with Pistou

A few (okay, fine, like two) times a week I go to the gym, and during those days I tell Matt to "Have some grub ready for me when I get home!". Sometimes I even say it nicer than that. I subscribe to every blessed cooking magazine under the sun and leave a torn page on the counter, beckoning for his culinary prowess. I can't even snicker at that statement, because he's getting really good at following instructions. Look what I came home to on Friday:

He even plated it and added the garnish! That boy is damn good.

He made Penne (we used bow-ties) with Zucchini Pistou. I know, it sounds sophisticated, right? According to Cooking Light - where I snatched this little ditty - pistou is to the French what pesto is to Italians. Works for me!

This dish was restaurant-worthy yummy. We loved it. It was chock full of basil and garlic (note: with four cloves you have to like garlic) and I adored the sauteed zucchini - it can't get more summery than that! Definitely going to add to my "company's coming" repertoire.

Penne with Zucchini Pistou

  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices small zucchini (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion (about 1 large) (We used Vidalia and red.)
  • 6 quarts water
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta (We used bow-tie pasta.)
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (We used half-and-half.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender and golden. Remove from pan; cool.
2. Place 1/4 cup cooked zucchini, basil, 1/4 cup cheese, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor; process until finely chopped. (Keep mixture in processor.)
3. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until golden. Return remaining cooked zucchini to pan. Remove from heat.
4. Combine 6 quarts water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large Dutch oven, and bring to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain in a sieve over a bowl, reserving 1/3 cup cooking liquid. Add pasta to vegetables.
5. With processor on, add reserved liquid to basil mixture; process until smooth. Add basil mixture to pasta. Add cream, remaining salt, and pepper; stir. Top with remaining cheese.

Yep; we're definitely making this again.

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