This pasta is ideal for spring and summer months, with herb gardens are flourishing. Try it with other pasta shapes such as radiatori, orecchiette, gemelli, or cavatappi.
- 1 pound spaghetti or capellini
- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- ½ cup Kale Pesto or Basil Pesto (recipe follows)
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 4 handfuls spring greens, (arugula, baby lettuce, spinach, or a mixture of)
- 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves. chopped
- ¼ cup freshly snipped chives, chopped
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously salt with kosher salt. Cook the pasta according to package directions, stirring occasionally until al dente. Drain the pasta, rinse with cold water, toss with a drizzle of olive oil, and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, add the pesto to a large bowl and stir in the lemon zest and juice. Slowly whisk in the remaining olive oil until incorporated.
Add the pasta, greens, basil, parsley, cilantro, chives, and Parmesan and season with sea salt and pepper; toss gently to mix. Top with additional herbs and Parmesan for garnish and serve warm or room temperature.
- Basil Pesto
- You can make this with most any tender green or herb; in the south we even use collard greens. At the market, depending on the season, we’ve made it with arugula, parsley, spinach, and even kale. This versatile pesto takes a grilled chicken breast to new heights.
- Makes about 2 cups
- 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, stems removed (about 2 cups, firmly packed)
- 1 bunch fresh parsley leaves, stems removed
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the basil, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice. Pulses several times to roughly chop the garlic and herbs.
With the motor running, pour the olive oil in a slow steady stream through the feed tube of the machine. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl several times while adding the oil.
Add the pine nuts, cheese, salt, and pepper and puree until the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute more. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Pesto variations: Leave the garlic, olive oil, parsley, salt, and pepper the same as the recipe above but mix up your greens, nuts, and cheese to suit any season.
Spring: Arugula, walnuts, and Asiago cheese
Summer: Mint, pecans, and pecorino cheese
Fall: Cilantro, pecans, and dry jack cheese
Winter: Kale, almonds, Parmesan cheese, plus a jalapeño for extra kick