Is it me or does it seem like the closer you get to the end of the year the faster the days fly by? I feel like I used to get so much done during the day and still have time left over to plan dinner menus. I’m almost convinced that the days are getting shorter…it’s either that or my organizational skills have gone to hell and left me with very poor time management skills. Anytime I feel like time is out of my control, I always fall back on pasta dishes because of the ease of preparation and the fact that you don’t need a whole bunch of ingredients. More often than not, you have everything you need in your pantry! In this case, Spaghetti and Pesto. Easy Peasy!
I really prefer to make my own pesto but when I’ve run out, I use my favorite store-bought jar. I’m lucky to have an Italian grocery store close by that make their own so I usually have a jar of their green stuff in my fridge. On busy evenings when I’m rushing to make dinner, it’s a real time-saver! Classic Pesto is a paste made by crushing together basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil. When I make mine, I simply omit the parmesan and sometimes I use cashews because they are cheaper and more readily available than pine nuts. The uses of pesto are endless – basically, I can pretty much eat it on anything. I spread it on sandwiches, pizza, garlic bread, bruschetta, baked potato, rice and much more. It’s definitely one of those condiments that’s almost always in my fridge due to its versatility!
To start, prepare your spaghetti according to package directions. My rule with any pasta is to make sure you have a large pot, generously salt the water and cook until just done. I also never rinse my pasta…you want the starch to help your sauces stick!
This step is totally optional because olive oil and garlic are already in the prepared pesto but I love lots of garlic and more ROBUST flavors. I also feel that the pesto loosens up a bit from the olive oil in the warm pan. When spaghetti has about a minute more to go, get the olive oil into a saute pan, add minced garlic, black pepper and red pepper flakes (both peppers optional – I like my food with a “kick”). Saute for about a minute and turn heat off.
Drain your spaghetti and add it directly to the pan, add the pesto and toss well. If you don’t want to be as decadent as I am and skipped the above step, just put your pesto in the bottom of a serving bowl, add your drained spaghetti and toss to combine.
Recipe for: Spaghetti with Pesto