Wednesday, January 16, 2013

From The SOG City Cookbook

Like many, I suppose, our dietary regimen got sidetracked over the holidays. Our boyish and girlish figures were assuming a different shape, and yes, round is a shape. As a consequence the Belle of Ballast Point and I have been hitting the road each afternoon for a power walk around SOG City.

While this is a good thing for physical fitness, it does interfere with my dinner preparation each evening. I do try to accomplish my mise en place as much as possible before we venture forth. Mise en place is a French term that roughly translates as ‘put in place’. It’s used to describe the practice of chefs preparing food up to a point where it is ready to be used in a dish during food service.

There are times when mise en place isn't possible before our odious journey through our South of Gandy neighborhood. PT, or physical training, is not one of my favorite activities, Drill Sergeant. Sometimes all food prep and cooking have to be done after we return home and cool down. It is during those times that a recipe that is quick, easy, and filling comes in handy.

I saw a dandy one on the Cooking Channel the other day. I think it was on  David Rocco's Dolce Vita, but I could be wrong since I can't find it on his web site. It matters not because the recipe I saw involved making your own pesto from scratch with a mortal and pestle before even starting what I call Fagioli Verdi, Pasta, e Pesto, or green beans with pasta and pesto. That recipe looked really tasty and, except for the pesto, fairly quick and easy.

A few days later I made the most wonderful discovery while shopping at the local Publix - prepared pesto from Classico. Publix stocks the traditional basil, pine nut, and Parm pesto, but the one that caught the attention of my taste buds was the sun-dried tomato pesto. And, that is the one I chose for my recipe.

By using a prepared pesto and a pre-grated Parm, I save myself much time and effort. The dish turned out great! Or, so said the Belle of Ballast Point.

If you would like to try it, you will need:

  1             ounce  sea salt
  8             ounces  green beans -- whole, trimmed (I prefer haricot vert)
  8             ounces  fettucine
  8             ounces  pesto sauce -- prepared
  4             ounces  Parmesan cheese -- grated

Bring large pot of water to a boil and salt the water.

When boil is achieved, toss in the whole trimmed green beans and cook for about two minutes, then toss in the pasta and cook according to package directions.

Add the pesto to a pan or skillet large enough to hold the beans and pasta, but do not heat.

When pasta is done, drain and save about a cup of pasta water. Pour the beans and pasta in a skillet with the pesto and gently mix to combine. Add water if necessary to loosen the mixture.

Plate and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

This recipe should feed four, or if there are a couple of big eaters, then maybe just two. You can have this recipe plated in less than thirty minutes if you use store bought pesto and grated Parm. You can also vary the taste by alternating jars of pesto -- sun-dried tomatoes today, and basil pesto next week.

Editor's note: We are not getting comped by the Cooking Channel, David Rocco, Publix or Classico. I am only using them for reference or as examples.

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