Spaghetti with walnut and herb pesto

There are few weeknight meals as easy and satisfying as kitchen sink pasta.

As in, everything but the kitchen sink, or whatever you happen to have on hand that would taste good when thrown into a bowl with noodles.

My summertime fridge is usually a mix of the same veggies: squash, zucchini and corn. Sometimes tomatoes. All of those lend themselves well to being zhuzhed up with some garlic and a simple sauce.

When I think of a light pasta dish, I think of pesto as an alternative to something tomatoey or creamy. The essence of pesto is oil, herbs and nuts, a bright mixture that comes together in just a few minutes and, best of all, doesn't even require time on the stovetop.

Read more here.

Spaghetti With Walnut and Herb Pesto

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For the pesto:

2 cups fresh basil or mint

2 tablespoons walnuts

2 cloves garlic

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

For the pasta:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small zucchini or yellow summer squash, cut into thin matchsticks

½ cup to 1 cup fresh (or frozen) corn kernels

Kosher salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

8 ounces spaghetti, bucatini or fettuccine pasta

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

Make the pesto: Combine basil leaves, walnuts and garlic in a food processor and process until very finely minced.

With the machine running slowly, dribble in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth. Add the cheese and process just until combined. Set aside.

Alternatively, mash ingredients one at a time in a mortar and pestle, stirring in olive oil and cheese at the end and mixing well to combine.

Make the pasta: In a 12-inch skillet, add olive oil and set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add garlic and cook for just about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add zucchini or yellow summer squash, and corn. Season with the desired amount of salt and black pepper. Saute about 5 minutes just to soften the squash. Remove from the heat but leave in skillet.

Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Season with salt and add pasta. Cook according to package instructions until the pasta is fully cooked.

Strain the pasta but reserve some of the pasta water. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet along with the cherry tomatoes. Toss to combine. Add ¼ cup pasta water and ¼ cup of the pesto and stir well.

Divide pasta among serving dishes and top with a dollop of pesto per serving and plenty of freshly grated cheese.

Serves 2 to 4.

Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times