Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Organic Basil Pesto Spaghetti Rigati Recipe from Garden to Family Dinner Easy for Kids to Help Make

Good Food

I love summer. The warmer weather and longer days almost make you feel as if there are really more than 24 hours in a day right now. This time of year is also when when my Southern California organic garden is bearing more heavily than it does during any other season.

Here's what my vegetable & herb garden looks like right now
The bumper crop of herbs and vegetables is now beginning to roll in, beckoning me to bring it from garden to the family table, on the way dreaming up ideas for incorporating the freshest ingredients on the planet: homegrown produce.

My basil was over 18" high so I decided to snip off a bunch today. I also picked the first few dozen juicy sweet cherry tomatoes to ripen of two different varieties in beautiful tangerine and red hues. Then I set about the task of making dinner for my hubbie and four hungry teenagers with the produce  just picked along with some other things I happen to have on hand in my kitchen.

Tonight's Menu

Romaine Hearts & Cherry Tomatoes Tossed Salad

Spaghetti Rigati Al Dente With Fresh Hand Pounded Pesto

Waterford Sauvignon Blanc Lismore Reserve 2007
A kosher Central Coast California Wine from Eagles Landing

Milk for the kids

This nutritious and light meal was perfect for a summer supper. My hubbie and kids devoured this in no time. Perhaps you and your family will enjoy it as much as we did.

Organic Basil Pesto

Organic Ingredients:
1 cup fresh basil, washed
3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt to taste

This can be made a few days ahead or on the same day for dinner that night. All ingredients are raw and there is no cooking involved in making this pesto sauce so get the kids involved with whatever tasks you think are age-appropriate for them. As always be sure that they are supervised at all times and that they are not using anything sharp that could cut their little hands.

Mortar & Pestle with pounded basil that may appear black in color at first
Using a mortar and pestle like the one pictured in this post, take off the stems of the basil and pound just the leaves into mortar. At this point it will look very black but don't worry it will turn greener as the other ingredients are added.

Next, you'll cut the garlic cloves into large chunks and add them to the basil mortar,  grinding to blend them in. Then add the pine nuts and pound some more, followed by mixing in the parmesan until you have a thick grainy looking paste.

The pesto turning into a beautiful green
Finally, slowly pour olive oil into the pesto in a thin stream mixing gently but thoroughly with a spoon until it is well incorporated. Add a pinch of salt to taste. You can also leave the salt out altogether if cooking for someone who is on a low-sodium diet. Then pour a thin film of olive oil to cover the surface and keep it fresh. Cover and refrigerate or freeze. When ready to use toss with your choice of cooked pasta (I like Spaghetti Rigati) and a little olive oil. If you like top with fresh ground black pepper then garnish with some pine nuts and cherry tomatoes to make this even more appetizing to the eye.

My oldest as a toddler loved picking tomatoes with Mommy

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