Dani Goes South.

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Spaghetti with Roasted Tomato + Walnut Pesto, Lemony Basil Pesto, & Herbed Anchovy Breadcrumbs

Dinners, PastaDani ColombattoComment
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Currently, I’m sitting in my parents’ backyard in Boise with a prime view of some very cute duck families. I took a little “just because” trip to see my parents, sister, niece, and nephew, and it’s been lovely. Idaho is beautiful this time of year, and I’m just doing a lot of relaxing, eating the good foods, and drinking the good drinks. The Lord’s work, they call it. Just kidding.

On another note, I’ve mentioned my love of my little garden here before, but truly, it’s the best hobby I’ve ever started as an adult. When our tiny tomato seeds started to sprout, I was super skeptical about them turning into full, blossoming plants. Joke’s on me because they are getting crazy-tall, and sprouting tomatoes all over the place. I believe, at last count, I had 45 little, green tomatoes. That little garden ended up being so much more than we bargained for in the best way possible. It inspires me to be less of a plant/life skeptic and get in touch with my inner-optimist. One of the many great uses for a bounty of tomatoes is one of the two sauces we’re talking about today. That’s right, not one but two versions of pesto in one pasta because I can’t seem to leave well enough alone. These two sauces are so simple to throw together, and compliment each other perfectly. They’re also both amazing on chicken, fish, bruschetta, and more.

First, we have a roasted tomato and walnut pesto, which is a recipe I slightly tweaked from Bon Appetit and has been a top-tier favorite of mine since I saw it in one of their issues in 2016. It’s super fresh, and the walnuts lend this creamy factor that takes this pesto to the next level. This sauce stands alone, but I felt like giving it some extra herbaceous oomph. Tomatoes and basil have always been a great couple, why break ‘em up now? Our second pesto couldn’t be simpler, but what it lacks in complexity, it makes up for in brightness. Tons of fresh basil, lemon zest and juice, toasted walnuts, and the usual pesto suspects, garlic, parm, and of course, EVOO get all blended up for one delicious basil pesto with the perfect amount of fresh acidity.

The spaghetti gets tossed in the creamy roasted tomato and walnut pesto, then gets studded with dollops of the basil pesto, and topped with toasted, herbed anchovy breadcrumbs. Don’t bristle at the anchovy portion of the program (unless you’re veg, in which case, bristle away)- it really just lends a savory level of, for lack of a better term, umami. If you’re not into that, just toast them up with the butter and herbs, and finish with a good sprinkling of sea salt. Let’s get up to our eyeballs in pesto, shall we? Was that appetizing?

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Carciofi Ripieni AKA Stuffed Roasted Artichokes With Parmigiano Breadcrumbs, Lots of Lemon, + Basil Aioli

AppetizersDani ColombattoComment
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Artichokes just feel like a weekend vegetable. They take a little time and patience, which, let’s be real, is definitely in more abundance on a Saturday versus a Tuesday. My parents have a ritual of making them on Saturdays to enjoy while playing golf- the card game, not the sport, which is kind of adorbs. Artichokes really remind me of my dad, and him being home on the weekends. He traveled a TON for work throughout my life, so having him home and in the kitchen or at the grill was always the sign of relaxing afternoons and evenings to come. We always ate our artichokes with melted butter, my dad usually spiking his with some garlic (and probably too much salt), which always left me feeling gypped with the regular plain melted butter, and I would often steal his leftovers once he was done eating.

These artichokes are a slight departure from the simple ones from my youth- which I still love BTW. They get par-boiled to ensure tenderness and easy leaf peeling. Then, they get stuffed to the gills with a delicious, buttery, garlicky, parmigiano-laced breadcrumb mixture. A lemony garlic butter with a splash of white wine keeps everything from drying out, while injecting even more deliciousness into this situation. Thinly sliced lemons get piled on, and subsequently get all caramelized and roast-y in the oven. All things I am into. Finally, a bright basil pesto comes along to make dipping dreams come. As the kids say, letteth us getteth into it.

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