Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago

I’m watching Ever After as I work on this post. See?

Photo editing is fun. But photo editing whilst watching the beautiful Drew Barrymore play a strong-minded, philosophical, introspective Cinderella in a period piece set in France? WAY fun.

The library scene. And the scene when she shows up in that sparkling, white gown with the translucent butterfly wings? I die. And then… oh gosh, just go & watch.

So… back to pasta. And pesto.

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago | Pumpkin Honey

I promised a pesto recipe! And here it is!

It’s a versatile recipe so make it your own.

You could substitute goat’s cheese & the veggies of your choice. Kale would be an excellent substitute.

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago | Pumpkin Honey

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago | Pumpkin Honey

This pasta was yummmmy.
The lemon gives it a WHAM of brightness.
The peas add little POPs of sweetness.
And the cheese provides a savory KAPOW of saltiness.
So basically what I’m saying is this pesto pasta is the equivalent of a comic book superhero.

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago | Pumpkin Honey

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach, and Asiago

1 Pound Fusilli Pasta
1 Cup Garlic Scape Basil Pesto (or to taste)
1 Cup Peas, fresh or frozen
1 Cup Cooked Spinach
1/2 Cup Grated & Sliced Asiago Cheese
2 Tablespoons Toasted Pine Nuts
Zest of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1/2 to 1 Lemon, according to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta, a dash of salt, & a drizzle of olive oil to the boiling water. Cook pasta according to directions. Add the peas 3 minutes before pasta is finished. If the spinach is frozen, add to the boiling water 1 minute before pasta is finished. Strain the pasta & peas and return to hot pot.

 Add pesto, grated cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir thoroughly to coat all of the pasta. I like to do a stir/toss combo.

Stir spinach in now if freshly cooked. Top with pine nuts.

Eat by the heaping spoonful.

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Peas, Spinach and Asiago | Pumpkin Honey

Pairs well with Lemonade or Iced Mint Tea.

So tell me, what do you like to do with your pesto??

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

How wonderful is seasonal produce? It’s fresh, vibrant, and you can find it locally. The basil in this pesto came from the farmer’s market this morning. And the garlic scapes came in an organic box from Washington Green Grocer. WGG is like an interesting spin on the CSA (community supported agriculture). While not all of their produce is organic or local (or even national), a large portion is and you can order a local or organic box. And they deliver it to your door. Plus they’re very flexible about swaps and they offer a lot of add-ons. It’s really an excellent service that provides excellent products. For most, I definitely advocate using a traditional CSA that comes from an organic farm nearby and buying from local, producers-only farmer’s markets. However, if this is not an option (i.e. if it’s the middle of the season, no farms nearby, no sustainably grown produce, etc.) a group like Washington Green Grocer is a great alternative. They also have an excellent web design that’s easy to use and have a blog with recipe suggestions! I also hear Hometown Harvest is a good organization in the MD area with a similar model.

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

This pesto is everything you want in your pesto.

There’s the traditional basil, the fun of garlic scapes, and the flavor enhancers: red pepper flakes for a kick & red wine vinegar for a tiny little punch.

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

 Key is high quality produce. You could smell this basil across the kitchen. And the scapes were nice and firm.

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

YUM.

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto

1 Large Bunch Basil (About 2 Cups Loosely Packed)
5 Large Garlic Scapes
1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
1/4 Cup Walnuts
1/4 – 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tsp Red Wine Vinegar
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 Tsp Salt (To Taste)

Chop the thick end and the seed head off of the garlic scapes and throw in the food processor. Puree until coarsely ground. Add the rest of the ingredients and purée until smooth. Adjust to taste, adding more olive oil/salt/vinegar/cheese if you desire.

Spread on sandwiches or pizza, stir into pasta, or nosh with a spoon. However you eat it, you’ll love it.

And you’ll see what I do with it soon!

Garlic Scape Basil Pesto | Pumpkin Honey

Tabbouleh & Hummus

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Okay, snickerdoodles not what you wanted to start your 2013 resolutions off properly?

Well, don’t worry! I’ve got healthy stuff too!! Delicious, healthy stuff.

I grew up eating Lebanese food on special occasions. Mostly family gatherings, especially Easter. Grandma prepared most of it when I was younger. My cousins and I would sneak into the fridge at night during family reunions to steal the fatayers! We’d sneak a few, thinking we’d be satisfied, and then go back for secret seconds. I loved almost everything grandma made, but tabbouleh was never my favorite. Probably because it’s chock full of parsley and I’m not really a huge fan. But it’s been growing on me in the last few years and now I love it. Well curly leaf more than flat. Especially drenched in lemon juice. Probably thanks to Stephen… who adores Middle Eastern & Mediterranean cuisines. He loves when we make tabbouleh, hummus, pita, grape leaves, or fatayer. And any chance we get to eat it somewhere else. He once “confessed” he loved me because I could make such good Lebanese food. I was flattered!

Tabbouleh & Hummus are an especially great combination. They’re both quick & simple and require no cooking (if using canned beans). They’re also an extremely healthy combo. Chickpeas are full of protein, fiber, Manganese and Iron. While parsley is an excellent source of antioxidants as well as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Calcium, Folate, Potassium and even Iron. Most importantly, they’re delicious together – the flavors and textures are perfectly complementary.

So go ahead, indulge. In fresh, wonderful food that you can feel good about.

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Tabbouleh

2 bunches curly leaf parsley
1/2 cup bulgur
1 large cucumber
1/2 small red onion
juice of 2 lemons
several tablespoons olive oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt, to taste
chopped mint, optional

Chop parsley finely. Chop mint finely if using (between a couple tablespoons & 1/4 cup).
You can use the food processor if you want, but that’s one more thing to clean!
Peel cucumber, seed & dice. Finely dice red onion.
Add the bulgur wheat to a small saucepan with 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, stir & remove from heat. Let sit for at least 15 minutes or until water is absorbed.
Combine the parsley, bulgur, cucumber, and onion.
Pour olive oil & lemon juice on top & stir thoroughly.
Refrigerate & nom!

Hummus

1 can chickpeas
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon (or more)
1/4 tsp salt

This one is easy. Add all ingredients to food processor & blend until completely smooth!
Top with paprika, sumac, or zaatar, and olive oil. Or nothing. However you like it.
Many of my family members prefer it drenched in olive oil.
Refrigerate & nom!

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