Monday, August 30, 2010

Recipe: Fresh Fettucini with Basil

I am very enamored with my basil bush right now. It is August; temperatures are in the upper nineties and heat indexes are topping 100 degrees. Unlike me, basil thrives in this weather. There is just enough rain to keep it moist and because it's in a shady spot it hasn't gone to seed. This is the first time I have actually planted basil directly in the ground and not in a pot; I had no idea what a difference that would make.

With this plethora of basil I was craving something simple and herby. The dish is basically pasta with a rough chop pesto. Instead of emulsifying the basil with oil, cheese, garlic, and pine nuts I rough chop everything and toss it together. To bring out a more intense flavor I always toast pine nuts before adding them in. I also make this with pistachios and walnuts as a substitute.

Fresh Fettucini with Basil

1 pound fresh pasta noodles
3 cups (approximately) fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Boil the pasta and drain. Place pasta in a serving dish and add remaining ingredients. Toss until well combined. Serve hot or cold.


  1. Some of my basil plants are bolting in the late summer heat so I need to use them up. This is great idea aside from the traditional pesto. I like the fresh and simple approach to preparing this dish.

    And so happy you are posting again! I always find your recipes inspiring.

  2. If a person could only plant one thing in a garden, it would have to be a basil plant! Enjoy yours!

  3. I love this idea. I know it's easy enough to pull out the food processor, but sometimes I just don't want to. To put it in Top Chef terms, I think you just made a deconstructed pesto!

  4. Lolo, thank you... I'm really enjoying posting again. :)

    Jane, I whole heartedly agree!

    Megan, yes! A knife is much easier to clean than a processor!

  5. Hi Katia

    I came to your blog looking for one of your recipes I had wanted to try, and I am delighted to see you are blogging again :)
    The recipe I want to try is for caramel frosting. I have never made a caramel cake before. I need to make a cake for a friends birthday. Have you ever tried to make this recipe on a hot humid day? Also, if I made it the day before would it need to be refrigerated?
    Any advice you could give me would be appreciated.
    Also, your new recipes look wonderful!!

  6. Hi Sarah,
    Thank you!

    You can make the caramel icing when it's humid... so long as it's not raining. Do not refrigerate the cake. You may leave it out at room temperature for a few days. When making the caramel, boil it slowly and watch the thermometer. Do not go above 238 F. Cold butter will help cool it. I beat it in the kitchenaid with the paddle attachment for about 20 minutes.

    When the icing looks like it's starting to get a tad bit grainy, it's time to ice the cake. Make smooth single strokes pour over top and spread around to sides. If the icing is not cool enough when you pour over cake it will just run off the sides. It should no longer be shinny. I hope that helps!

  7. I never have success with basil plants. Maybe it is because I've been using pots instead of planting it into the ground directly. I'm going to have to look up more information on planting them in the shade to avoid having them go to seeds.

  8. Psychgrad,
    Planting the basil in the ground made a big difference for me this year. The shade is really only partial though, mostly in the late afternoon. The plant is still in almost full sun and I live in south Louisiana so more than anything I think it protected it from the afternoon heat. It's September and it still has not gone to seed! :)


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