I am absolutely obsessed with homemade pasta. There is no way to describe exactly how superior it is to store bought dry stuff. Since I bought my pasta roller attachment for my Kitchenaid, I have yet to buy a box of dry. This is something I am proud of, as it definitely makes pasta night a full on endeavor, instead of something quick and easy. But still totally worth it.
In the summer the best way to eat pasta is with a heaping spoonful of pesto. Not a store bought jar of oil and salt. Real, fresh herbs. Add some grilled salmon and it is like being in summer paradise.
For my pesto, I use a combination of basil and arugula. I grow my own fresh basil, but pesto requires such a huge quantity that in order to keep my plant alive I fortify it with about the same amount of arugula. You can really do this will almost any sort of green leafy plant, but I love the pepperiness and bite that arugula gives the pesto. I also like my pesto fairly garlicky, so if that isn’t your thing definitely keep it out. Instead of pine nuts, I usually use walnuts. I like the texture better, and the flavor is magnificent when paired with the arugula.
Finally, making a perfect pesto is an art, not a science. Want more acid? Add lemon. Salt and pepper? Add. Too thick? Add some more olive oil. Too runny? More herbs. Play with it. You’ll know it is ready when you can’t stop tasting it.
Basil and Arugula Pesto
- 2-3 cups basil
- 2-3 cups arugula
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1-2 T lemon juice, as desired
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- salt and pepper to taste
Start by toasting the walnuts. Set them on a skillet over medium heat for about four minutes, or until you can smell them. Be careful not to burn them, as you want them to still have a creamy texture when blended. Put all the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor. I use my Ninja blender, which works the same way, but a regular blender will not. Blend on low while slowing adding the olive oil to emulsify everything. Then, turn on high and let go until everything is turned into a paste.
- Salmon, cut into long, thin filets (Use as much as you desire)
- salt, pepper, and lemon juice
Season all side of the salmon with salt and pepper. With each salmon strip (mine are usually around 5-6 inches long and 3 inches wide), fold in half and skewer so it will hold its shape. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Place the salmon wedges on a grill pan over medium heat and cook for about 3 minutes a side, or until they reach desired doneness. Don’t overcook!
To serve, take one pile of delicious, homemade pasta and top it with pesto, salmon, and fresh grated parmigiano reggiano. Go forth and rule summer.