Lordy lou is it hot!
Pardon my slipping into the mouth of an 85-year-old southern grandma, but that’s the only thing I can think to say.
Everyone is melting in the heat. But rather than rant and rave about it, I want to take a moment to share this picture I snapped on my way home from work.
You know it’s hot when the sidewalks are that empty!
We’re experiencing a full on heat wave here and today really is another salad day. But I think my boyfriend will rebel if I plunk another salad on the table and call it dinner.
Tonight needs something fresh and bright though.
And when I think fresh and bright, I tend to lean towards parsley. And tomatoes. Which I have a ton of still left over from making yesterday’s shirazi salad.
So the wheels started turning.
How about a bright and fresh parsley and mint pesto with tomatoes over some pasta?
Pasta is quick cooking, so less time standing in the hot kitchen, and the pesto just requires some ingredients to take a trip in the Cuisinart. Brilliant!
Pesto can be made with anything. Take some herbs, some garlic and some olive oil and blend it up and you have pesto. The standard variation is basil and olive oil. There’s usually pine nuts or walnuts, but I prefer to leave the nuts out of the pesto itself and instead chop them up and sprinkle them on top of the pasta. I like the texture.
Tonight, I wanted something really light and fresh and with a bit of a different flavor. So I chose to go with parsley and mint as my herbs and then sunflower seed oil in stead of olive oil. Everyone makes basil and olive oil pesto. March to the beat of your own drum!
I usually don’t like mint. But I do like mint and parsley together. Strange? Oh well.
So into the Cuisinart go the garlic, parley, mint and oil.
Whiz it up until smooth.
I suggest popping in the fridge for a bit so the flavors can meld. If you don’t have much time, just the few minutes it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta will suffice.
Part of the reason for the trip to the fridge is my love of temperature differences. The steaming hot pasta and the cool pesto in one bite. Yum. It’s the same concept as warm brownie and cold ice cream.
I used mini shells, but you can use any pasta you have on hand.
Cook the pasta to al dente.
Toss the pasta with the pesto and some diced tomatoes.
For some texture, sprinkle over chopped pistachios. Pistachios are so summery to me. Maybe I associate them with sitting on a beach towel, cracking the shells and snacking after a swim in the ocean. They also compliment the parsley and mint nicely. But you can use any nut. Walnuts would be great, too.
For a final layer, some parmesan cheese.
A bright and colorful bowl of pasta bursting with flavor. The mint and parsley bring enough freshness to the table that you’re not weighed down in this heat.
And dinner is on the table in about 15 minutes, so you can spend the rest of the evening lolling on the couch with a cocktail.
Experiment with the herbs in your fridge! Share some of your favorite combinations with me and I’ll give them a try.