Summer Pasta Perfection



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When it's hot outside it can be unappetizing to eat heavier meals like pasta. But these two pasta favorites of mine aren't heavy in the least bit due to featuring fresh summer produce. I love them and I think you will, too! {Both recipes are from Giada De Laurentiis.}

Linguine with Avocado and Arugula Pesto
Serves 4-6
via

Ingredients
1 pound linguine pasta {I use whole wheat; DeCecco is my favorite brand}
2 medium avocados, halved, peeled, and seeded
3 cups of baby arugula
1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 large limes)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Instructions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8-10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Place in a serving bowl.

Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the avocados and place in a food processor. Add the arugula, basil, lime juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Pour the pesto over the pasta and toss together. Add the cheese* and almonds and toss together until coated, adding the pasta water, as needed, to loosen the sauce.

To toast the almonds, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 6-8 minutes until lightly toasted. Cool completely before using.

Kerry's tip: Top this yummy pasta with some shrimp that you've sautéed in olive oil, salt, and pepper. It's a delicious compliment to the flavors in the avocado/arugula pesto!

*I add the cheese directly to the pasta; it's a tip I learned from watching Giada cook on one of her shows. It enables the pasta to better bind to the pesto.



Pasta Ponza
Yields 4-6 servings
via

Ingredients
Butter for greasing
2 cups red cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup of capers, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon extra-virigin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 cup Italian-style seasoned breadcrumbs {I use Progresso}
1 lb ziti or other short tube-shaped pasta {I use DeCecco whole wheat penne noodles}
1 1/4 cups Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Instructions
Bake Tomato Mixture
Place an over rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8x8 inch glass baking dish. Set aside.

Place the tomatoes, capers, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in the prepared backing dish. Toss to coat. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the tomato mixture. Drizzle the top with olive oil and bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden. Cool for 5 minutes.

Finish Pasta Ponza
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.

Place the pasta in a large serving bowl. Spoon the tomato mixture onto the pasta. Add the cheese and toss well.* Thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Kerry's tip: I love to top my Pasta Ponza with some crushed red pepper. Also, this pasta is awesome day-old and reheated; it gives all of the flavors time to really meld together. Oh my goodness! Heaven in your mouth. This recipe is a family favorite!

*Just as above, I add the cheese directly to the pasta to serve as a bind between the pasta and the tomato mixture.

Have a favorite summer time recipe? I'm always looking for new ones. Please share in the comments!


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