Summer Days and Easy Meals - 'New Pesto' Pasta

Garlic scape and radish head pesto, extra garlicky (!!), tossed with summer vegetables and folded into spaghetti pasta.

Garlic scape and radish head pesto, extra garlicky (!!), tossed with summer vegetables and folded into spaghetti pasta.

Summers are a bit of a struggle for blogs. Among all the things this short and sweet season allows you, updating the blog comes, well, pretty close to last. I mean, take this post for example, I started it last week and I am still writing it 10 days later. While everyone is about fun and frolicking, soaking in on all various outdoor (I mean just outside the house, leave alone nature) activities, simply catching up with friends, drinking copious amounts of chilled beverages, travel and well, weddings. Amidst all of this 'life' happening, where can we find a moment to sit in front of a computer and write a post, when in the heart of your heart, you know that most of your readers also find lots of funner things to do rather than a blog. I mean you can hardly blame me for choosing a lovely garden lunch with a friend as we toast nothing and everything over glasses of crisp dry whites, with nary a worry in the world. Mind you, I don't blame you for not reading my posts either....

Yet, if you are one of rare breed of people who are either super awesome and disciplined to manage your time or are really a loyal blog follower, I salute you. Because, even though, I could right now distract myself with a ton of things I don't need to do but want to or rather just, you know, you give me the structure I crave. If not for this blog, I would be wandering around, generally discovering. This blog gives me focus and the aimlessness transforms to productivity. Ok, fine, I am just justifying.. But, the gist is about right.

Summer's kiss is a long distracted reverie....

A poet I met recently said to me, in response to my question on waning inspiration, that when she feels 'blocked' she looks to past creations and borrows bits from them and that is enough to get her going on to make a new one. So, I decided to follow her advice and sifted through some of my better writings here. Like this one or this one or this, have largely been in the cooler months. I run around like a headless chicken with too many thoughts in my head that need further reflection. Then I reflect on them, while in the subway, in the shower, in conversations with friends, build on a budding thought, create a fuller story..... And, move on to the next one! Yep, between thinking and penning, there exists a yawning divide that simply seems to get wider in Summer. I think this happens for many of us. We know we will be better if we took the time to slow down, focus and remember, but hey, there is that new idea that I'd rather chase, right?!

Oh well.. humans are imperfect and wonderful creatures. I am one. I suspect you understand this as much too and that is why you stay with me despite my rather infrequent and non-regular posting. Thank you! 

Meanwhile, amidst all my pleasured wanderings, I eat, live and cherish. Through simple meals and new experiences, I have been feeding my soul and answering some of the book of questions that my mind seems to constantly carry around! 

Aimless wandering around has its merits.. Like chancing upon street sculptures such as this!

Aimless wandering around has its merits.. Like chancing upon street sculptures such as this!

Rockaway Brewing in LIC, Queens
The LIC Flea Market is up and coming and the food vendors are still evolving. This okonomiyaki was all vegetarian, which, is a commendable concept but it lacked the real flavors of this amazing Japanese street food....

The LIC Flea Market is up and coming and the food vendors are still evolving. This okonomiyaki was all vegetarian, which, is a commendable concept but it lacked the real flavors of this amazing Japanese street food....

There is so much abundance of produce in this season that it is easy to want to have a bit of everything. I think the heat accompanying the season is a self-preserving need. You simply do not have the ability to bear it to make complicated meals, allowing us to enjoy clean and simple dishes to heart's content. 

Pesto is a condiment, sauce, whatever, that in its original form has never had much appeal for me. I find it to be too heavy and I rarely taste the flavor of basil underneath all the pine nuts and parmesan cheese, which are so much more earthier in flavor. But, I have always loved the concept of a green sauce. So, ever since I can remember, I have made my own variations of 'pesto'. My favorite green to use in these pestos is the radish top. Most often the leaves of radish are discarded. It is a crying shame because they are packed with nutrition and although mildly bitter, very high in taste! This one here is a versatile mix of garlic scape and radish leaves and in place of pine nuts [which are prohibitively expensive!], I use the milder cashews. That gives both the heft of nut and creaminess while not taking away from any of the flavors. I also do not mix in parmesan cheese, opting to grate it on top of the dish and also ensuring a much longer shelf life for the sauce.


RADISH + SCAPE PESTO PASTA

summer vegetable + fried egg

Break the yolk (if choosing poached or fried egg version) before serving the pasta, so it mixes with the pesto to make a rich sauce! 

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1/2 lb spagetti pasta

1/3 cup pesto

1/4 cup cut beans

1/4 cup fresh corn

1 carrot diced small

Parma Reggiano to grate

Egg to top

olive oil to finish

 

For the pesto:

1 bunch of radish leaves

4 garlic scapes, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces

1 T olive oil

2 T cashew nuts (roasted would be great! but raw is also good)

pinch of sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Combine all the pesto ingredients and puree into a spreadable mix in a food processor. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Cook the spagetti in salted water until al dente. Drain and reserve. Reserve a 1/4 cup of the cooking water as well.

Meanwhile in a frying pan, heat oil and add half the pesto. Saute lightly. Add the vegetables and saute until just soft. 

Add the pasta and the cooking water into the pan. Add the remaining pesto and let them all cook together for 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. While it is resting, cook the eggs as you like them.

Plate the pasta, taking care to get the vegetables in and top with egg. Serve immediately.