I am a huge pesto fan (just look in my freezer and you will find about a million small containers of it) and love fresh tomatoes, so bookmarking this recipe was a no-brainer. I had to wait until tomatoes started looking good, though, which was only very recently since the temperatures this summer were approximately 1 million degrees every day.
I decided to add zucchini ribbons to the pasta, which I’ve done before, to make this a little healthier. That way you can still eat a huge bowl of pasta…because half of it is vegetables. I also did this to “trick” my son into eating the zucchini. I am so NOT a hider of vegetables (nor do I want to be one), but this kid used to eat veggies by the bowl, and now he is all like WHERE IS MY BREAD, MA? and F THESE PEAS! Okay, not really, but that’s what it feels like. (For the record he ended up eating a meatball and the zucchini ribbons, and ditching the pasta. I don’t get this kid.)
This meal comes together as quickly as it takes to cook the pasta, so it’s great for a weeknight. It’s somewhere between a fresh tomato sauce and a pesto, which is definitely a good thing in my mind.
On a housekeeping note, the winner of the mushroom kit giveaway is Ilene, who said, “I love mushrooms that have been sautéed with garlic on toasted baquettes with melted fontina cheese.” Ilene, please comment with your email address or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so you can get your kit!
3/4 cup slivered almonds or 1 scant cup whole almonds
1 large handful fresh basil leaves
2 large garlic cloves
6 ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 pound linguine or spaghetti (I use whole wheat) OR 10 oz. spaghetti and 2 zucchini, sliced into thin ribbons
In a dry skillet, toast the almonds until fragrant. Let cool, then blend them in a food processor or blender until they are in coarse pieces, roughly the size of orzo. Scoop them out of the processor and set them aside.
Put the basil, garlic and a few pinches of sea salt into the food processor and chop. Add the almonds back to the food processor (keeping them separate will keep them from getting too finely chopped as you get the basil and garlic to the right texture) with the tomatoes and cheese and whirl briefly. Stream in olive oil as you are pulsing, to your desired consistency. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
Cook your pasta until it is al dente. Reserve one cup of pasta cooking water and drain the rest. Immediately toss the hot linguine with the pesto and mix quickly so that it drinks the sauce up a bit. Add pasta water if needed. (If you are adding zucchini, you can just toss it raw with the hot pasta and pesto, or you can add it to the pasta during the last minute of cooking.)