Recipes @ September 2013

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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Lunch Box Idea: Green Bean, Scallion and Tomato Pasta Salad Recipe

Add crispness and a boost of flavor to simple spaghetti in this Green Bean, Scallion and Tomato Pasta Salad. This dish sparkles with the colors and tastes of scallions, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and a light lemon dressing.

Makes 4 servings


  • Coarse salt, for cooking water, plus more for seasoning
  • 8 ounces green beans, washed well and ends trimmed
  • 6 ounces spaghetti 
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 2 scallions, white and light-green parts only, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, cored, seeded and chopped
  • Fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside. Cut green beans into 2-inch pieces and add to boiling water. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the beans are bright green and become tender. Transfer cooked green beans to ice water bath. Let beans sit in ice water for 1-2 minutes, then remove beans from ice water with a slotted spoon and place on a clean kitchen towel to drain.  
  2. Return the saucepan of water to a boil and add another pinch of salt to the water. Once the water returns to a boil, add spaghetti to saucepan and cook according to package directions, or just until al dente. 
  3. In a large serving bowl, whisk together lemon juice and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  4. Place mozzarella cubes in a medium mixing bowl and spoon half of the lemon dressing over the cheese. Toss lightly to coat the cheese cubes with the dressing.
  5. Remove cooked spaghetti from saucepan and transfer pasta with a slotted spoon directly to serving bowl containing the remaining lemon dressing. Toss lightly to coat.
  6. Add cooked green beans, scallions and tomato to serving bowl with spaghetti and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle mozzarella cubes over the top of the salad and toss gently with the vegetables and pasta. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish each serving with fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, if desired, before serving.

Preserving Basil Pesto in the Freezer

You can savor the bounty of summer basil by making pesto. Pesto is favored by Italians for its combination of ingredients: fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil. The freezer makes preserving this flavor-packed condiment even easier.

The next time you're looking for an alternative to tomato sauce for your pasta, or a topping for a piece of chicken, defrost some pesto for a quick and delicious way to enjoy the flavor of summer-grown basil.

Makes about 1/2 cup

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • Coarse salt, for cooking water
  • 4 cups basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toast pine nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 8 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let pine nuts cool slightly.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Wash basil leaves under cold running water. Prepare an ice water bath in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Place basil leaves in cooking water and blanch leaves for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer basil leaves to ice water bath to stop the cooking. Turn basil leaves out onto a kitchen towel and gently blot dry.
  3. Transfer basil leaves to the bowl of a food processor. Add toasted pine nuts and garlic clove to food processor. Pulse until basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic are broken down. With the motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil through the feed tube and process just until the ingredients are combined.
  4. Use pesto immediately or store for future use. Fill half of an ice cube tray with pesto, transfer tray to freezer and freeze until the pesto is solid. Once frozen, remove the frozen pesto cubes from the ice cube tray and transfer to resealable freezer bags and store in the freezer until ready to use.
Tips: Store pine nuts in the freezer, rather than the pantry, to keep the nuts stable and to prevent them from going rancid in warm places. Blanching the basil leaves in boiling water will preserve the bright green color and prevent the pesto from turning brown.