Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Foolproof Fusilli: All Roads Lead to Pesto

This, my friends, is a don’t worry dish. As in: Don’t worry. It will all turn out just fine.

3 cups corkscrew pasta (best: Eden Organic Kamut spirals*)
3-inch piece green garlic or 1 medium clove garlic
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves**
¾ cups, rounded, coarsely grated Parmigiana Reggiano
A rounded ¼ cup lightly toasted pine nuts
1 medium leek, white and light green parts, halved lengthwise, rinsed well, and sliced into half rings
1 large zucchini, diced
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
Slosh white wine
½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved and sprinkled lightly with salt to draw out the flavor***
2-3 handfuls baby arugula****
Kosher salt


Bring a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta and cook according to package directions (you might want to start it about midway through cooking the zucchini, below).

In a food processor,***** combine ¾ cups olive oil with the garlic, basil, parmesan, and pine nuts. Blend until smooth, try a bit, and adjust ingredients to taste if needed.

Saute the leek in olive oil till soft over medium low heat, about 8 minutes. Add zucchini, raise heat a bit, cook, stirring only occasionally, for 5-10 minutes (the time will depend on how big your dice is) until the zucchini is just tender. If it browns here and there, all the better.

When the zucchini is al dente, add the beans and a sprinkling of salt and stir to combine. Continue to cook, stirring, for another couple minutes, then add a splash of wine to keep it from drying out. Stir once or twice, fold in the tomatoes and about half of the pesto, and turn off the heat. Stir in the arugula.

After draining the pasta, toss with about two thirds of the remaining pesto (enough to lightly coat it). Serve into soup plates, top with the sauce, and serve immediately.******

Serves 2-3.

*Not available in your area? Don’t worry. Any other corkscrew pasta will work just fine.
**Unexpected run on basil in your local grocery store? Don’t worry. Half parsley and half arugula. Trust me.
***Not available yet at your farmer’s market? Don’t worry. Dice a regular tomato or two instead.
****Forgotten in the cart/in the fridge/on the counter? Don’t worry. Tastes just fine without it.
*****Mysteriously misplaced? Don’t worry. Pulse in the blender.
******Guests stuck in traffic? Don’t worry. Leave covered in the pan on the stove. Or nuke in the microwave. Magic.