Friday, July 16, 2010

Week 7 and Fresh Mozzarella for Lunch

What am I going to do with 8 more cucumbers?!? Arriving in this weeks share were also 4 more zucchini (zucchini bread?), carrots, lettuce, mesculin mix, basil, 2 pints blueberries and (be still my heart) the first two tomatoes of the season.

Now, I made the mistake of leaving our basil out overnight. Dave tossed the leaves that he felt looked insufficient, not realizing that I had designs on them for lunch. So, we ended up with a Basil Sage Pesto, tossed through penne with fresh mozzarella and chopped tomato. We had run across a fabulous deal on Bel Giosso at BJs - 4 lbs for $10. I know that mozzarella traveling to us from Wisconson, sealed in plastic, can only be called fresh in quotation marks, and that the price is as suspicious as the food. So sue me. Would I have preferred locally produced, handmade by an Italian grandma? You betcha. Did this do the trick? It was delicious. So there.

Our full lunch was consumed by all, including Dina, who at the ripe old age of 8 months loves pesto. The pesto was basil on the first bite, and sage on the finish. The spice of the sage was balanced by the mild creaminess of the mozzarella, and the first tomato of the season did not disappoint. We served it accompanied by gorgeous mixed greens topped by balsamic and pesto soaked mozzarella. All in all, it was a sweet way to spend a summer lunch.

Penne with Basil Sage Pesto, Tomato and Fresh Mozzarella

1/2 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic, skins on
1 cup parmesan, grated
1/2 cup basil
1/2 cup sage
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 pepper

1/2 lb penne
1 ripe tomato
1 ball fresh mozzarella

1. Boil water. Add penne to water, and cook according to package directions for al dente.

2. Meanwhile, toast the walnuts and garlic in a saute pan over medium heat, until nuts are fragrant and garlic is beginning to become a mottled gold brown. Remove garlic from the pan and peel.

3. Place walnuts in food processor and pulse until ground. Add remaining ingredients (save penne, tomato and mozz, of course). Puree until smooth. Add olive oil and seasoning to taste.

4. Chop mozzarella into bite sized pieces. Slice tomato. Remove seeds. Dice fruit.

4. When penne is cooked, drain, reserving a bit of the cooking water. Place penne in serving bowl. Toss through with 1/2 the pesto, adding cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Add tomato and mozzarella. Toss through. Share and enjoy!

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