When basil beckons, (and it will…), answer the call with this crazy fragrant pesto that takes you straight out to a summer field and makes you jump for joy! Served over pasta, it is a sublime combination – the fresh pesto coats the warm pasta and it melds together in a marriage made in heaven, accented in this rendition with crumbled feta and sweet cherry tomatoes. Later in the summer, only garden tomatoes will do, but for now we improvise…
So follow along farmer wannabes, because this is so easy and so worth ur time!!! (and it is a sure-fire way for me to get college girl to come running home for dinner…because you can no doubt smell it from here…)
1 bunch fresh basil
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
Juice of ½ of a lemon
1 clove garlic, peeled
Freshly ground black pepper
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound farfalle pasta
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, or sliced garden tomatoes if available
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Wash the basil, drain and pluck the leaves off the stems. Takes a few minutes, but ur hands will smell so good when you are done…
Lay leaves aside to dry a little while you assemble the rest of the pesto ingredients. If you need to toast the pine nuts, put them in a 350 degree oven for 4-5 minutes, just until their fragrance is released and they have turned slightly golden. In a food processor or blender put in the basil, the toasted pine nuts, the parmesan cheese, the lemon juice, the clove of garlic, a dash of kosher salt, a few grinds of black pepper and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Give the processor a few initial pulses, and take a look for consistency and to scrape down the sides.
Add 1-2 additional tablespoons of olive oil, depending on how things look – you are going for a nice green smooth consistency. Don’t pulverize beyond recognition. The finished product should have a rustic yumminess.
Taste by eating some with a spoon… Set aside covered while pasta cooks.
Prepare the tomatoes and the feta.
Drain pasta when done, pour into a large serving bowl and add pesto. You should have about 2/3 of a cup.
Stir pesto in until pasta is coated.
Toss in tomatoes and feta cheese and fold in. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper if desired.
Dish will hold covered for about 1 hour, and can be served warm or at room temperature. If it looks a little dry before serving add a touch of olive oil and stir through.