What defines a perfect summer meal to you? Anything with fresh, seasonal produce? Perhaps it means not having to turn on the oven. Maybe your perfect meal is grilled outside as the sun is beginning to set and the temperatures are cooling down. Or maybe it means something light and figure-friendly.
To me, the perfect summer meal is a simple one: pesto pasta.
It has been a little over a year since we bought our first house and I’m still loving all of the benefits of home ownership. And I’m kind of obsessed with our back deck. I have herbs and vegetables! I have my very own grill! I have outdoor furniture where I can entertain friends with good food and wine when the weather is nice. I just love it. After years of living in apartments, our large back deck is my favorite part of the house.
I love having so many herbs available to me all the time. Pesto is a fun, quick way to use them up and it’s great in pasta as well as slathered on bread and crackers. Right now I’m probably making it once per week and the recipe is always slightly different. But I especially loved this version and I think you will as well.
You can find shelled, fresh edamame in many grocery stores. You can also often find bags of edamame in the freezer section, which will work in this recipe. And there’s always your local sushi restaurant, where you can buy some steamed edamame to go. It really adds a nice creaminess to this pesto. The arugula brings a peppery punch and the mint is bright and refreshing. I recommend serving this pesto to friends on your back deck during a nice summer evening. With good wine, of course.
- 1 pound box of pasta (I used spaghetti)
- ½ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 cup shelled edamame
- ½ cup fresh mint
- ⅔ cup arugula
- 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Juice from 1 lemon
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare pasta according to package instructions, reserving 1 cup of the liquid before draining.
- While the pasta is cooking, add the edamame, mint, arugula, garlic, and parmesan cheese to a food processor. Pulse several times until the ingredients are finely chopped and evenly combined. Scrape down the sides. Add the olive oil and run the machine for another 10 seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Drain the pasta (except for the cup of liquid) and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the pesto, lemon juice and some of the pasta water. Use tongs to toss the pasta evenly with the pesto, adding more pasta water as needed until the mixture is evenly combined. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.