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Homemade Easy Basil Walnut Pesto

Stashing containers summer’s pesto is the most squirrel-like getting-ready-for-winter thing I do. When fresh basil is garden plentiful, I pull out the food processor and whip up a batch. This pesto freezes beautifully, so that’s where I keep it. All winter long, when I want pesto for pasta or pizza, there’s a ready stash of easy basil walnut pesto!

Easy Basil Walnut Pesto | Letty's Kitchen

Using a food processor, this pesto is quick to make–the work is in stripping the basil leaves off the stems. The garlic is super-easy to mince–begin your pesto by dropping whole garlic cloves in the work bowl while the processor is running and the blade is spinning. When the garlic stops hitting the sides of the processor bowl, it’s perfecty minced!

Compared to many other pesto recipes, this easy basil walnut pesto has less olive oil–more basil bang for the buck. Not that extra virgin olive oil is a bad thing!

You will love the flavor and budget-wise variation with walnuts and Pecorino Romano cheese in place of the more expensive pine nuts and Parmesan cheese called for in classic Italian Genovese pesto.

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Vegetarian Pan Bagnat with Cilantro Pesto

Summers in Park City you can find live music most every night of the week almost all of them outdoors!  Locals pack their picnics, from elaborate assemblies to something they picked up at the Market. Me, I love to make this very special sandwich, this pan bagnat (pan ban-YAH) with cilantro pesto!

Pan bagnat refers to a sturdy, packable sandwich popular in Southern France. To make a pan bagnat sandwich, use a long baguette with the center hollowed out. Have fun putting together this vegetarian version!

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Walnut Paella Salad {vegan, gluten-free}

Back when I was in language school in Cuernavaca Mexico, my host family‘s next door neighbor invited us to his catered 50th birthday fiesta. I spoke enough Spanish to graciously accept shots of their 100% agave, but not enough to carry on a conversation. As I enjoyed their hospitality, out of the corner of my eye I watched the caterer stir saffron seasoned broth into round starchy rice. She layered in various meats and shellfish as the rice plumped. It’s true, rabbit tastes like chicken. Unlike this walnut paella salad, a saffrony summery twist on classic, the paella that night was decidedly not vegetarian. Continue Reading…

Zucchini and Tortellini

I find it hard to pass by a Trader Joe’s store. I buy their dried tortellini with mixed cheese filling because it travels and keeps well and is a quality dried pasta. Then I make zucchini and tortellini.

Our farm share CSA farmer John says we have “tons” of zucchini this week. This recipe is here to help make a dent in your prolific green cylinder supply!

It’s adapted from a Deborah Madison recipe, from her most excellent Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone cookbook. Use the entire amount of olive oil—it cooks the zucchini slowly and gently. Deborah calls for half-and-half or milk, but I used cashew milk, because that’s what we have!

Make it a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and use up that zucchini!

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Zucchini and Tortellini
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

An easy way to use up and abundance of zucchini. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: zucchini, tortellini
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Letty Flatt
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk or half-and-half cream
  • 6 ounces dried cheese-filled tortellini
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Handful basil leaves torn into small pieces
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cut the zucchini in 1/2-inch lengths, and then cross-wise into 1/2-inch pieces.
  2. In a large skillet heat the oil and the garlic together—the garlic cooks without scorching as the oil come to temperature. Add the zucchini and season with salt and pepper. Cook the zucchini over medium heat, stirring every so often, until the squash is soft and browned on some edges, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. When the pasta water boils, add salt and cook the tortellini until it is tender to your bite. Drain, toss with a little olive oil and set aside if it is ready before the zucchini.
  4. When the zucchini has some golden color, add the milk and cook 7 to 10 minutes more, stirring more frequently. Toss with the pasta, cheese and basil. Season to taste with salt and more freshly ground pepper.

Zucchini Carpaccio

Make this zucchini carpaccio salad when your summer squash is super fresh, as in, immediately from your garden or CSA box.

Carpaccio, by definition, is an Italian non-vegetarian appetizer–thin shavings of raw beef drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.  This vegetarian interpretation uses thin shavings of impeccably fresh squash.

Use the smaller squash, saving those biggies for something else. Cut your squash slices thinly, thin, thin, using a mandoline, or sharp knife.

Not only can you use zucchini, but pattypan and yellow squash are perfect too. If you have more than one type, arrange the different varieties, and colors in concentric circles on the platter.

If your summer squash is not super fresh–try this grilled zucchini and basil tart instead.

Make it a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something seasonal and delicious!

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0 from 0 votes
Zucchini Carpaccio
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

Here's a fun vegetarian riff on the non-vegetarian classic Italian carpaccio. You can use any type of summer squash--in fact it's a very pretty presentation if you make concentric serving o 3 different varieties for 3 different colors. Slice the squash, whatever type, super thin. Makes about 4 servings.

Servings: 4 servings
Author: Letty | Letty's Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 4 small zucchini or other summer squash
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts raw or very lightly toasted, optional
  • 6 ounces fine quality aged Italian cheese such as Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Thinly sliced tips of 1 zucchini blossom optional
Instructions
  1. Cut the zucchini into paper-thin slices. Arrange slices, overlapping slightly, on a serving platter or 4 salad plates.
  2. Cut chiffonade slivers of basil leaves, and sprinkle over the zucchini. Drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice on top. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Let stand about 10 minutes to soften the zucchini and let the flavors develop.

  3. Just before serving, sprinkle with the pine nuts and shaved cheese. If you have a squash blossom, garnish with slices of that.