Monday, September 11, 2006

Hey... that's my basil, not yours!

While we were at the farmers market getting pears on Saturday, I also had to pick up a couple things in anticipation of tonight's dinner. I needed a bunch of basil as we have been going through a lot of it in the past couple weeks. The little plants I started just could not keep up, but I noticed that maybe it was not only me picking away at the leaves this morning! Hmph!

I had some ricotta leftover after making the pizza earlier last week, so I leafed through the stacks of recipes and found one that looked good. I ended up choosing a recipe for Pasta with Spinach-Basil Sauce. After picking up the fresh local spinach and basil at the market, we were ready to go as everything else in the recipe is pretty much a staple. The two leafy greens go for a quick dunk in the same water I end up using to cook the pasta which allows them to keep their vibrant color. Like frozen spinach that you thaw, you need to get rid of the extra water they picked up during the dunk. I used to use a towel, but that was just messy - so I like to use a potato ricer instead, as I have found it works so much better at getting the water out. Processed with shallots, ricotta, Parmesan, salt, pepper and nutmeg you will notice this mixture will be extremely thick - but don't worry, we will fix that in a minute. Once the fettuccine is cooked al dente, place a measuring cup under a colander to catch the pasta water. After adding the hot pasta, you thin out the sauce to your liking with that water. The bright flavor shines through the light - but still creamy and cheesy coating, that grabs onto the long strands of pasta. The quick nature of this dish is perfect to throw together for a fresh and fast weeknight dish.


  1. Ok, I'm sure every organic gardener who reads your blog will give you this advice, but you can mix water with dish soap (something pure) and spray it on the plants and most bugs won't eat it.

  2. Egads, that cricket/grasshopper (are they the same thing) looks huge! Glad he didn't eat all your basil though :)

  3. You guys could start a bug zoo!

    I've been totally obsessed with pesto lately - this sounds like a fun variation.

  4. Joe,
    What a great idea for the potato ricer. I hate squeezing frozen spinach!

  5. Nothing like fresh basil. One of the great, great flavors on earth. [Your pasta looks so yummy!]

  6. Kalyn - I've heard that before, but never thought to actually do it! I'll try it tomorrow in the morning!

    Ellie - Me too!

    Mebeth - Ugh... so true.

    Wheresmymind - Not quite!

    Jennifer N - Me too, I also disliked cleaning the towels afterwards!

    Karina - I have to agree about the flavor in basil!

  7. Don't share all that great basil with the grasshopper! Tell him to go eat something else that's a little more frost hardy! The basil won't be around much longer...