I sat up in bed sometime in the middle of the night and realized yesterday had not gone smoothly enough for me to be near a computer other than at work. So, bright and early this morning, I am making up for my lack of desire to get out of a nice warm bed on one of the coldest nights of the year in Florida and share my thoughts.
This was my second recipe to try from The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper. It was so divine, I almost fought Paul to take the leftovers to work the next day. Naturally, I was the "bigger sport" and allowed him to take it (but I also sent him the peas). This dish will soon become a top recipe in my repertoire. For one reason, we almost always have all the ingredients in our cabinet. For another reason, it's a cheap recipe for me to make. For a third reason, it truly highlights the herbs in our garden, which is always a hit. We love taking advantage of the freshness in the courtyard of our townhouse.
I made just a couple of variations. I used sweet Peru onions instead of red onions as that is what I had in my house. Another difference, I did not saute additional onions in the pan; only heated the pesto with the onions already in it. Also, instead of oiling and chopping the pesto on a board, I dumped the ingredients into my mini food processor, adding more basil and chives as the amount went down and saving the pistachio nuts until last. One more thing, and I think it's the most important difference: I used Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. After reading How to Eat Supper (which is full of useful information and helpful hints), I learned when to save on food and when to splurge. I splurged on a block of Parm-Reg from the fancy cheese bins at Costco and used it on the pasta instead of the Asiago called for in the recipe, which I didn't come across at the store. Truly, the cheese made so much difference. I left it grated on a plate on the table. We sprinkled it on our pasta and even on our bread.
Also after reading the book, I learned the importance of the type of pasta chosen to match a sauce. I had some spaghetti rigati, which is long noodles like spaghetti, but with ridges that make the noodle in the shape of a square. The noodle really grabbed onto the pesto. I think that makes this specific noodle important for the success of this dish, and will continue to use it now that I know better.
Cost to make Pistachio Pesto Pasta
- $0.31 Spaghetti Rigati (Publix, buy one get one free-spaghetti is great because it only takes half a box to make this meal)
- $0.20 Olive Oil (Publix, buy one get one free)
- $0.11 Sweet Onion (Costco)
- $0.10 Garlic (Costco)
- $2.24 Parm-Reg Cheese (Costco)
- Free Basil (From our herb garden)
- Free Chives (From our herb garden)
- $2.96 Total for a meal for two and leftovers for one
Incidently, a slice of fresh Old World Italian bread from the Maitland Farmer's Market is a great way to wipe your plate and soak up every last bit of flavor. A loaf goes for about $6.