Things have cooled off somewhat here, but the weather experts tell us that the scorching heat will be back soon. No surprise, of course. We always have high temperatures in the summer. It's still hot, so I prefer simple meals that don't require much time in the kitchen. I also like to see vivid summer colors on my plate, from fresh tomatoes, peppers, greens, and herbs. When I read this recipe from Williams-Sonoma, I knew it would look as lovely as it would taste. And it did. The farfalle is coated with a bright green arugula pesto and accented with red and yellow cherry tomatoes. The entire dish is quickly made in less than 20 minutes, and tastes like....summer. I think it's perfect for Presto Pasta Night, the wonderful event created by Ruth at Once Upon A Feast. Head over to Ruth's site this Friday for a pasta roundup of all the other Presto Pasta bloggers.
You can prepare all your ingredients quite easily as the water heats for the pasta, and as it cooks. The pesto is made from arugula, walnuts, pecorino cheese and olive oil in a food processor. I loved the fresh and nippy taste of the arugula. And if you also love this wonderful leafy green, it will delight you too. However, if you hate arugula, this isn't the dish for you. Try it with a pesto made from another herb, such as basil.
The recipe says to mix the pasta, pesto and tomatoes in a large serving bowl, but I used the pasta cooking pot, because I could toss the everything with abandon. I added about 1/4 cup of reserved pasta cooking water, to make the pesto a little thinner.
The farfalle is a good shape for the pesto, holding little puddles of it onto the pasta. I enjoyed this dish a great deal--but I like arugula a lot. So, I was happy.
Farfalle with Arugula Pesto and Tomatoes
(Williams Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Italy)
6 oz. arugula, tough stems removed (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup walnuts
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, plus
shaved cheese for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb. farfalle
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved, or chopped large tomatoes
In a food processor, combine the arugula, parsley, walnuts and garlic. Process using short rapid on-off pulses until the mixture is finely chopped, 15 to 20 times. Add the grated cheese, salt and pepper. With the machine running, gradually add the olive oil in a steady stream and process until smooth. Set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Salt generously and add the pasta. Cook, stirring frequently, until al dente (tender but firm to the bite). Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Place the pasta in a large warmed serving bowl along with the pesto. Toss well, adding the reserved pasta water as needed to thin the sauce. Add the tomatoes and toss again. Garnish with the cheese shavings and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.