Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Not Quite Veg Everyday - but Trying: Pasta with new potatoes, green beans and pesto

I had no enthusiasm for cooking last week, and managed to feed us (perhaps slightly haphazardly) out of the freezer. However, after a weekend with my parents, I managed to get a grip. We had chicken fajitas yesterday – a crowd pleaser as it was my turn to do the 4.30 pick up (choir for the girls, football for the boys) of my kids and another brother/sister pair, get them home and fed and the boys back to cubs for 6.30. However, back on the veggie track, today we had pasta with potatoes, green beans and pesto. I loosely followed Hugh’s recipe in Veg Everyday but as I’d originally been taken with a similar Nigella recipe. I also had Kitchen open at the pasta alla Genovese page (there’s a convenient link to her recipe there on Nigella.com – couldn’t find a Hugh link for his version).

I made my own pesto, and smug it may sound, but I think it probably was worth it, although time was tight. I spent most of the afternoon at dog boot camp with Fred to find out if he is destined to spend the rest of his life on a lead (fortunately, it seems not) and by the time I got back it was tinme for school pick up. Pink has ballet on a Tuesday at 5, so there’s always an element of juggling that goes on, especially when I’m on a mission – I’d also realised this morning that we had finished the last of the cake and that we needed some more bread, so it was go, go, go this afternoon.
Still, as I anticipated, the pasta was well worth it – I mean this is my idea of heaven – carbs, cheese and some green stuff to make you feel better about everything. It was delicious. Pink was a little sniffy – I’d sold the whole dish to her on the basis that it had pasta potatoes and green beans, all of which she loves, and the sauce had basil, pine nuts and parmesan which she also loves. She explained that she would have preferred to have it separate – pasta, potatoes and beans on one side, pesto on the other. Do you remember When Harry met Sally? Pink is ‘on the side’ girl… She had second helpings though.

Bearing in mind I cobbled together 2 recipes, here’s my version:
Serves 4 with enough left over for 1 adult and 1 child to take in packed lunches tomorrow:
2 packs of supermarket basil leaves (56g in all) plus a large handful of flat leaf parsley from the garden – leaves only (for both basil and parsley);  50 g toasted pine nuts;  1 large garlic clove;  50g parmesan, finely grated;  zest of half a lemon; rapeseed oil; squeeze of lemon juice;  salt and pepper
Plus: 500g penne pasta; 300g potatoes; 200g dwarf beans; and a handful of stoned green olives, chopped
Get in from school, stick the kettle on and make the pesto first by whizzing up the herbs, pine nuts, garlic parmesan and lemon zest, then add the oil a tablespoon at a time till you get a loose paste – I used about 3-4 tablespoons. Squeeze in some lemon juice, grind in some salt and pepper, cover and put in the fridge. Forget to make a cup of tea. Make some bread dough, get all floury and doughy then dash out of the house, children flying to get Pink to ballet on time.

In the time you have back at home once you’ve let Blue choose some new Famous Five books from the library, and before you need to go back out to collect Pink, put a large pan of well salted water on to boil, weigh out the pasta, slice the potatoes into lengths – I used reasonable size new potatoes so I sliced them in half then half again lengthwise. Hugh says ‘thin chips’ size, and if you have time, top and tail the beans. Turn off the water, dash out to get Pink, dash back.
Return the water to the boil, add the pasta and potatoes and boil for 10 mins or so. Top and tail the rest of the beans, then add them to the pasta and potatoes for the last 4 minutes of cooking time. Drain everything, and remove enough pasta to feed Pink for lunch tomorrow. Add the pesto and stir everything around. Serve. Phew!
leftovers for a lunchbox

2 comments:

  1. That sounds like my kind of food...I would quite happily eat pasta and pesto most days of the week, and homemade pesto is delicious.
    Had to smile at Pink's reaction - my son's just the same. No problems eating things separate, but if I mix them up (and God forbid, add a sauce) he's not interested. SO frustrating! x

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  2. Think I will have to try this!

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