Recipe and post by Maggie Loftus. Although I am very methodical about my grocery shopping list, trying to only buy the ingredients we need for what I’m making during the week (hello, debt-scorning wife of a medical student on scholarship!), it happens to me often that I will find an exciting ingredient whilst grocery shopping and wanttobuyitrightnow! even though I have no plans for it. An ingredient in this situation may sit on the shelf for several weeks or more, looking forlorn, waiting for its turn to finally find its fate and fall into a hot pan. When I realized I had been staring at a can of octopus for a month, among other strange, un-purposed ingredients, I realized I had a problem. (Like, really? Canned octopus? What could I possibly have been thinking on that one?)
So when the first whispers of spring rolled through Baltimore, when I woke up for the first time this year to the sound of birds, when I rolled into my kitchen that morning and stared at that package of (impulsively bought) sun-dried tomatoes sitting next to a jar of homemade pesto with origins in our teensy kitchen garden last summer, I started to dream. In my mind, I was eating something that tasted like summer, a little sunny, a one-dish meal that had it all. I had it then — a pasta to bring in the summer, with a side dish of cartwheels in the park. This dish that I dreamed up is not your momma’s pasta salad, covered in oil on a picnic table on the fourth of July. No, it is beyond that. Prepare thyself.
Remembering Last Summer Pesto Pasta
Serves 4 as a main dish
Serve hot or cold
6 ounces whole grain pasta
Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot and cook to al dente. Drain pasta and set aside.
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat olive oil in large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for one minute.
10 ounces spinach (if using frozen, thaw first)
10 ounces broccoli, chopped (if using frozen, thaw first)
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
Add and saute for 5-7 minutes.
1/4 cup pesto
1 teaspoon salt
Add and toss until coated and fragrant
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Lower heat to medium low and add remaining ingredients, including cooked pasta. Heat through and serve, or let cool and serve cold.
Then sit back and enjoy. This is even better the next day, with a little canned octopus on top, natch! 😉
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