Here’s a simple bit of arithmetic: What do you get when you combine a day that is 110 percent full with zero time to make dinner and an average air temperature of 89 degrees plus 75 percent humidity? If we’re both doing our math correctly, near effortless pasta with a four-herb pesto sounds like a pretty solid answer.
The only cooking you’ll have to do to make this dinner happen is the pasta. Everything else comes together off the heat, making for a light and refreshing meal that’s ready in just 15 minutes (because, let’s face it, when your day is 110 percent booked, there’s just no time).
If you’re the gardening type and have an overabundance of herbs hanging out, by all means go crazy. If not, farm stands and farmers markets should be brimming with them right now, so reach for your favorite fresh flavors. You’ve had a hard day. You’ve earned it.
Tagliatelle with Four-Herb Pesto
Total Time: 15 min
Prep: 5 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 4 servings
1 pound tagliatelle or other long-cut pasta
For the pesto:
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup dill sprigs
2 sprigs sage, leaves picked
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, optional
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano cheese, plus additional for serving
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
One 14-ounce can cannellini beans, drained
1 pint mixed tomatoes, halved or chopped as needed
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Before draining, reserve about 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Drain cooked pasta well and reserve.
While pasta is cooking, prepare pesto. In the bowl of a food processor or jar of a blender, combine herbs, lemon juice, nuts (if using) and cheese. Pulse to chop the herbs. Turn the machine on and slowly stream in olive oil. Continue to thin the pesto as needed with reserved pasta cooking water.
Toss cooked pasta with pesto, beans and tomatoes. Serve with additional cheese, if desired.
Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he now works on digital production for FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Twitter & Instagram at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.