A Taste of Summer

Tomatoes. In summer. There is nothing better.

Except when they’re paired with basil.

That was dinner last night. Homemade pasta with a mortar and pestle pesto and a summer tomato and mozzarella salad. Nothing could be better.

Pesto with homemade Fettuccine

Mmmmm…pesto. A little labor intensive, but absolutely delicious. Start with a clove or two of garlic. Put into the mortar and pestle with a little salt and work it into a paste. Next, add the pinenuts. Start a few at a time and work them into a paste before adding more. Once you have the pine nuts smoothed out start adding your basil. A solid couple of cups worth. Little by little add the basil in and beat it until smooth. The last thing to go in is the parmesan. Add grated cheese until it tastes right. Then work it some more, until it is as smooth as you can get it. Finish it off with a bit of olive oil.

What does this wonderful green elixir go on? Why fresh, homemade pasta of course. I don’t have any pictures of that process for you, but it’s really easy. I used Michael Ruhlman’s ratio. Three parts flour, two parts egg by weight. Crack an egg a person into a bowl, weigh it, then multiply by 1.5 and add that much pasta. Add a bit of salt and some olive oil for flavor and you’re done.

Once the pasta is cooked just add a little bit of the pasta water to the pesto to thin it out and melt the parmesan a little. Then toss it all together with the pasta. Garnish with some fresh parmesan, a basil leaf and some fresh black pepper.

So how is it?

Absolutely delicious. I’d never made a pesto in a mortar and pestle before. It definitely makes a difference. Processing the garlic and pine nuts first results in an incredibly creamy, luscious pesto. The garlic was nice and subtle and the fresh basil really hit you over the head.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

So what goes best with homemade pesto?

Easy. Tomatoes.

This one couldn’t be simpler. Two fresh, summer tomatoes, procured from the Dupont Circle Sunday Market. Some more of that fresh basil. A ball of fresh mozzarella from Blue Ridge Dairy. Salt and fresh ground pepper. Olive oil. All finished off with just a little 14 year old Balsamic vinegar.



~ by Remy on July 13, 2010.

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