On social media I love seeing everyone’s back to school pictures of their kids all wide eyed and excited for a new adventure to begin. School is starting for everyone, and we’re no exception. Now that my favorite part, school supply shopping is over (I love a good pen and fresh notebook because I’m a massive dork), the shock is setting it that I have a kindergartener!!!!! When, how, what…I have a 5 year old child and I’m freaking out that he is going to be away from my watchful eye 30 hours a week! Am I the only one that is freaking out about this? Am I too protective of a parent? Though on the plus side he and his brother won’t be pestering each other all day….
I know he’ll be fine, but I’m not sure about me. I’ll have to drown my sorrows in some fall baking.
But fall isn’t quite here yet is it? In fact, around here, people are chucking their summer harvest around trying to find homes for their abundance of home grown tomatoes and zucchinis that have come in abundance. Ohio has seen a lot of rain this summer. I got this little pasta dish together using up some of those summer veggies. This is fast and easy for your busy school nights, as well as healthy and flavorful and fairly inexpensive.
This pesto is way cheaper to make than your average pesto. I’ve replaced the pine nuts (which cost $1.50-$2.00 an once) with cashews (which cost $.50-$.75 an ounce) , and the basil with arugula (about half the price). Add a bit of creamy goat cheese and you’ve got a winner of a dinner. And if you’re not into vegetarian dishes, adding a little chicken or Italian sausage doesn’t hurt one bit.
Summertime Pasta with Poor man’s pesto
5 oz arugula
1/3 cup cashews
3 cloves garlic
dash of salt and pepper
3/4 cup (or less) of olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 large portobello mushroom caps, gills removed
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 small red onion sliced
1 large zucchini, 1/2″ cubes
16 oz dried pasta
4oz goat cheese
parmesan cheese to garnish
Preheat oven to 400 F. Place mushrooms, tomatoes and onion slices on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a small drizzle of olive oil. Place in oven and allow to roast for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
In the mean time, cook your pasta according to the package directions, reserving a cup of pasta water.
In a food processor combined parmesan cheese, cashews, arugula, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Pulse until all the ingredients are combined and resemble coarse bread crumbs. Run the food processor on a low speed while drizzling in the olive oil in a slow steady stream.
Add just enough oil to make a sauce, you may not need all 3/4 of a cup.
In a large bowl, while the pasta is hot, stir together the goat cheese, pasta and raw zucchini.
The residual heat of the pasta will melt the cheese and heat and cook the zucchini without it loosing it’s crunch.
Slice the portobello caps, then stir in the pesto and the roasted vegetables with the pasta. If the pasta is too dry, use the reserved pasta water to loosen up the mixture.
Serve immediately with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.