Spring Pesto Pasta

Pasta is a staple in most people’s diets, particularly vegetarians. Most vegetarian options at restaurants are pasta based and are usually some version of Fettuccine Alfredo, with broccoli if you’re lucky. I am not here to discuss the evils of carbs and pasta (or alfredo sauce).

I LOVE PASTA.

When I first went vegetarian, my family ate a LOT of pasta. And cheese but we’ll cover cheese in a future post. As I’ve gotten more comfortable trying new recipes, I have cut back on the pasta I prepare. However, we still eat about 2 pasta meals a week.

WE LOVE PASTA.

Not knowing what the heck I was doing in those early vegetarian days, I had borrowed a few vegetarian cookbooks from a friend. The recipe I’m presenting to you today is one of the first dishes I made and it came from an old Betty Crocker “Easy Vegetarian” magazine that was published in March 2000. (Unrelated: Wow, it feels weird to type out 2000 as a year.). The title of this blog is “Cooking New Classics” and this dish really has become a New Classic in our house. My husband requests it at least once a month. It’s extremely versatile: omnivores can add chicken or use meat-filled ravioli, you can put in some fake chik’n (I was going to this time but totally forgot), you can change up the vegetables and it also works just as easily with tortellini if your grocer is out of ravioli. OH! I forgot the most important part: IT’S SO FRICKEN EASY! AND FAST!

First up! The Ingredients

Green Beans: these are from our garden. I use the term “our” loosely, Matt does all the work. In the winter time, or when the garden hasn’t yielded any beans yet, I use frozen Cut Green Beans. I’m lazy so if I can find short-cuts, I’m going to take them. Unless I’m in the mood to cut veggies, which actually happens more often than I give myself credit for. Lemon: this is actually the first time I’ve ever used a lemon in this dish. Someone finally forked over the $3.89 and got herself a citrus zester. That would be me. I am more excited about this zester than is probably normal. Imagine all the recipes that will now be all “ZING!” simply because I have this nifty little tool. Roma Tomatoes and Yellow Pepper: Remember in the Deep Fried Tofu post when I said I cook plenty of things that I don’t like but Matt does? These are two of the three biggies (the third one is Onion.). I do eat a few pieces of tomato and pepper in this dish, but Matt ends up with the lion’s share. He never complains. Sour Cream: People, people, people. DO NOT USE FAT-FREE SOUR CREAM. If you are going to use sour cream, jump in. You’re really not inhaling that much so just do yourself a favor and go with the full-fat tub. Low-fat is ok, I guess, but why do that to yourself? Basil Pesto: You could make your own from scratch but I repeat: why do that to yourself? Ravioli: I love you, Ravioli. MWAH!

I didn’t photograph the “cooking pasta” part because, “WHOA! A pot of water!”. Just pretend there are pictures demonstrating that you cook the pasta according to the package here. While the water is heating to a boil, cut up your veggies and start cooking them. Don’t forget to add the pasta to the boiling water or you’re going to miss a key part of the Spring Pesto Pasta dish.

1. Cut up the green beans (washed of course. These came in straight from the garden and were very dirty.) into one inch pieces. You could dice up the peppers, as I always did in the past, but I think I like the strips better. Adds a nice dimension to the meal. It took me years to perfect the Tomato Cutting Method: cut the tomato in half length-wise. Cut those halves in half length-wise. Scrape out the seeds with the end of your knife (or your finger if you like the feel of slimy tomato guts.). Cut all the quarters into strips, then dice them up. Yes, it took me years to perfect that. I’m laying it out here so those of you who, like me, are too afraid of looking stupid to ask, will never have to. (wait ’til I show you how to cut an onion. It’ll blow your mind. (actually, PW taught me and she can teach you, too!))

2. Heat up a tablespoon or two of olive oil in your favorite skillet. Saute the green beans and peppers until “tender-crisp”, about 5-7 minutes. If you like your veggies softer, just cook ’em longer. You really can’t mess up peppers and green beans. Note: If you do use frozen green beans, cook those for a few minutes before adding the peppers to thaw them out a little.

3. Toss in the tomatoes and saute for another five minutes.

4. I gotta say, as much as I don’t like peppers and tomatoes, they sure do look pretty all mixed up with those beans, don’t they? And see what I mean about the pepper strips? Instead of a pan full of square vegetables, we got some different shapes livening things up a bit. Embrace diversity in all aspects of your life, my friend.

After the veggies are done, remove them from the heat and set them aside for now.

1. Ok, remember when I said don’t forget about adding the pasta to the water? I didn’t forget (although the first time I made this, the timing was all off and things didn’t come together at the same time.) and here’s the proof.

2. In a small bowl, add a little over 1/2 a cup of sour cream, 3 tablespoons of the basil pesto sauce (put the rest in the fridge to use another day for something else. It’s really good spread on crescent roll dough and then rolled up and baked.), and THEN!!! Take out your Super Awesome Incredibly Not As Expensive As You Thought It Would Be Citrus Zester and then kick yourself for waiting this long to get one. Score it along the peel of the lemon and little strips of the peel will fall right onto your cutting board. And THAT is Lemon Zest. Add it to the sour cream and pesto and feel all kinds of fancy and gourmet.

3. Mix it up. Feel free to add more sour cream or pesto. The mixture will be a little thick, don’t worry. It will all work out.

4. Drain the pasta and put it back into the pot. Add the veggies and creamy pesto. Stir it up with a dash or two of salt and pepper. Serve it right out of the pot, OR, to continue with the fancy feeling left over from the Lemon Zesting you just did, put it all into a serving dish. (I like to put the serving dish in the oven set to “warm” while I’m making the sauce and mixing everything together. Keeps the pasta warm.)

I cannot convey how good this is. It’s a guaranteed “Kid Friendly” and “Second Helping” meal. Go forth! Try it!

Printable Version: Spring Pesto Pasta Print Version

The one I’m presenting to you today is one of the first dishes I made
Advertisements

4 Responses

  1. I really wish my comment had shown up on the last post, since commenting on the regrettable lack of shirtless cooking photos in this post just doesn’t make sense and makes me sound squicky.

    But yum! Want this pasta right now!

  2. Well, ,what the heck? That’s the second comment I’ve left on your blog that hasn’t shown up! Color me insulted. Sigh…

    Still want pasta now.

  3. where the crap did you find a NON SUPER EXPENSIVE ZESTER?? i have been looking all over and can not believe how stupidly maxed out these prices our…so i continue to use my moms 1940’s 4 sided cheese grader that i swear is going to take 12 layers of skin with it from me some day.

  4. Got it at Target for, like, 3 bucks. I was shocked!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: