This pasta salad is summer. It’s backyard barbecues and days at the beach.
I hated summer camp as a kid. Loved summer (duh), hated summer camp. I went to one of those day camps with my best friend at the local high school. I mean, we were in a school during the summer – what’s that about?
We spent our days trying to avoid playing volleyball and kickball and sitting around in our overalls, making friendship bracelets and talking about which Now and Then character we were. The highlight of my day was getting a frozen Snickers or a Gatorade from the vending machine.
Another thing I always looked forward to was lunch (yes, some things are very much the same.) I think my mom knew I hated camp, (I may have made it painfully obvious. In fact, that may have been the summer I perfected my signature eye roll.) so she sent me off with some extra special lunches in the summer months. Ones like this one, that I still think about.
I have a cookie recipe for you before Christmas…it’s not unlike my orange gingerbread cake – with its molasses and spices. But this time, there’s a little sugar-coated crunch and you know, it’s a cookie. A Christmas one.
But before we get there, let’s talk basil.
My love of basil runs deep.
It’s just all warm days, simple meals and pesto to me. It takes my brain to a happy place.
I bought this big bundle of basil at the market the other morning and walked around holding it like it was a bouquet of flowers, sneaking a sniff every now and then. Sure, I looked like a crazylady, so what?
We’re moving on today. Moving on from November, moving on from the weekend, moving on from losing the contents of our hard drive and moving into the holiday season.
Kale, in my opinion, makes for a fresh start. I know it’s not time for resolutions yet (thank God) but let’s be real, Mondays are when we get back on track after watching terrible movies and eating too much cheese all weekend. (P.s. Can someone give me another free day to watch bad movies and eat more cheese with my fiancé, please? Thanks.)
That’s where the kale comes in. It rights wrongs, just because it’s so dang good for you. That’s how it works in my brain anyway.
Pesto has always been one of my favorite ways to dress up pasta, sandwiches, grilled vegetables and salads. Today, we’re making it even more excellent with the (SMASH! BANG!) super powers of kale.
I’m going to go ahead and dedicate this post to my food processor. Medium-sized and sturdy, it can handle nearly every job I throw at it. (I only say nearly because I don’t want to jinx myself here.) Specifically, it is the essential tool for making one of my all-time favorite condiments (not just for pasta, folks!): pesto. I’ll call it a condiment because it’s way more versatile than something like ketchup for me.
When I make a batch, I like to freeze small portions to keep it fresh. It’s easy to defrost quickly if you submerge the container in warm water. I store mine in small jars or good tupperware containers.
A standard pesto involves basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil but it’s pretty common these days to swap in any number of other things. Sun-dried tomatoes and macadamia nuts instead of basil and pine nuts is a stand out variation – fancy, and ridiculously tasty.