Dear friends, I promise, I haven't abandoned my blog. Thank you to those that emailed me your concerns. Unfortunately, computer problems and the craziness of summer have caught up to me and that's why it's been so long since my last post. I hope you can forgive me. Fortunately, I have this really delicious and simple recipe that is perfect for when you don't feel like doing a lot of cooking in the summer time. A pistou is basically the same thing as pesto, but without the pine nuts. I loved the idea of making a tomato based version and while I loved this, I definitely would ramp up the tomato flavor next time with either slow roasted tomatoes or tomato paste. The herbes de Provence breadcrumbs put this dish over the top. They take two seconds to make, but add so much flavor I could probably eat handfuls of the crumbs on their own. To make this ever so slightly healthier, I used whole wheat pasta and a touch less oil, but even less oil would probably be fine as long as you up the amount of pasta water to keep the pasta moist. This is a great dish for a quick weeknight dinner, and the leftovers are just as great for lunch the next day. It's filling without feeling heavy. With a nice green salad, you've got yourself a great meal.
Red Pistou Pasta with Shrimp and Herbes de Provence Crumbs
(Adpated from Serious Eats)
Makes 2-3 servings
For the pasta and pistou:
8 ounces spaghetti
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in olive oil
1 tablespoon oil from the sun dried tomatoes
3/4 cup basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Zest 1/2 lemon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt to taste
For the Herbes de Provence Crumbs:
3/4 cup baguette crumbs
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Heaping 1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a healthy pinch of salt. Add the pasta and cook to al dente, about 10-11 minutes for whole wheat pasta.
Meanwhile, combine the sundried tomatoes, basil, oils, garlic, sugar, lemon zest and juice in a small food processor. Pulse until smooth and the mixture resembles pesto. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt to taste. Transfer the pistou to a large bowl.
While you're cooking the pasta, makes the crumbs by heating the olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs, Herbes de Provence, and salt and cook until the bread is toasted and crunchy.
Drain the pasta and reserve a half cup of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with the pistou and add more water if it is too dry. Top the pasta with cooked shrimp if desired and a healthy handful of the Herbes de Provence crumbs.