A Little Pasta, A Little Pesto…

Today was a very productive day. I edited two weeks worth of lecture notes and their corresponding power point presentations. The syllabus is almost complete, just waiting on the new edition of the book to make sure the assigned chapters are still correct. And Paul (our visitor for a few weeks) ran 8.75 miles with me. (On a side note, having a running buddy for the past few weeks has been so awesome! We’ve run four or five runs together and having someone with you makes the miles and the time fly by!) Oh and we took the pups to the beach. Gus LOVES the beach! So as a reward to a productive day, homemade pasta & pesto was on tonight’s menu!

I love homemade pesto! I love it more when it comes from my basil plant. To whip up this tasty pasta sauce, I used the following recipe. No pine nuts this time, saved a little cash and the pesto tastes almost as yummy without!

Basil Pesto (modified from Food Network recipe)
2 cups fresh basil
2 cloves of garlic (mine was from Gilroy, yay for local!)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (not to be confused with the just plain old virgin stuff!)
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Put the basil and garlic in the food processor. Once all chopped up add the olive oil. I also just mix the cheese right in there but feel free to add it in by stirring by hand. On a special note, I used the salad spinner and food processor I got as shower gifts in this preparation (thanks Sarah & Susan!).

Well, I had to have something to put the pesto on, right? Oh yeah! So of course I opted for fresh, homemade pasta. I really don’t know if I can go back to the box stuff, so spoiled 🙂 Here’s the recipe I used.

Egg Pasta (modified from Kitchen Aid recipe)
3 1/2 cups flour (you should sift, but I find it doesn’t make that much of a difference)
4 eggs
1 tablespoon water
a pinch of salt
several pinches of dried Italian herbs (for a little extra something, something)
Mix all the ingredients (I use my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer). Then use a kneading hook in your stand mixer for 2 minutes on speed 2. Hand knead for a few minutes and let sit for 20-25 minutes. Separate into four sections and flatten. Then use your handy-dandy pasta cutter to flatten out and then cut into your preferred pasta style (I chose traditional spaghetti). If you don’t dry your pasta, it takes about 2-3 minutes to completely cook. Another special note, I used my new 5.5 quart Le Creuset French oven from the wedding registry to boil up the pasta  (thanks mom!).

I save some of the boiling water to mix with the pasta and pesto sauce (thanks Barefoot Contessa for the tip!). Then I serve with some freshly grated Parmesan.

I drank a glass of Yellowtail Merlot and found the meal to be a perfect end to the day. The boys chose to pair beer with their pasta feast, to each their own.

And now for an episode of the Misfits (if you don’t know about this show, you should!) Perfect day!

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