This week’s Living Local post comes from one of my favorite food bloggers, Katie Vitucci of The Parsley Thief. Her mouthwatering recipes and photos get me every time. Here she tells us about her favorite in-season ingredients and gives a great recipe idea on how to incorporate them. The perfect summer meal, I know I’ll be making this one soon!
Summer Pasta Salad with Spinach Pesto & Mixed Greens
This salad is really about using what’s available to you locally. Any bitter green can be substituted for the mizuna, and likewise any milder leafy green can be used in place of the mesclun. Spinach pesto is milder than traditional basil pesto, making it perfect for kids, and it’s more economical. This recipe yields about 1 ½ cups of pesto, so you’ll have leftovers, and pesto freezes well!
1 pound fusilli
4 ½ ounces fresh spinach leaves
⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup freshly Grana Padano cheese
a pinch of Maldon sea salt flakes
a few grinds of black pepper
½ cup grapeseed oil
1 cup mizuna leaves
1 cup mesclun mix
optional garnish: additional pine nuts, grated cheese & micro greens
Boil the pasta for 1 minute less than al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse under cool water. Transfer to a mixing bowl, drizzle with the tiniest splash of oil (just enough to keep it from sticking together) and toss.
Add the spinach, pine nuts, cheese, salt, and pepper to the bowl of a food processor. With the processor running, slowly pour the grapeseed oil in through the feed tube. Process until smooth.
Pour about a ½ cup of the spinach pesto over the cooked pasta, and toss to coat evenly. Add more, if desired, until the pasta is coated well with pesto. If necessary, tear or coarsely chop the mizuna and mesclun greens into bite-sized pieces. Add them to the pasta, and toss gently. Taste, and season with a bit more salt and freshly ground pepper to your liking.
Transfer the pasta salad to a serving platter, or divide among serving plates, and sprinkle with some pine nuts and a bit more freshly grated cheese. Garnish the top with a few pinches of colorful micro greens (I used micro red orach), and serve.