An explanation: for the first time in my life, I am swamped in writing that’s one hundred percent non-recreational. At work, it’s been marketing plans and positioning statements and web copy. At home, it’s papers on, like, Foucault and Victorian sexuality and Chicago lit. It’s all kind of random, and kind of a lot. I don’t want to complain. These things need to get done, and I have to do them… but enter reason number two for my bloggy silence, now broken: There’s frankly been a tremendous sadness coloring everything I’ve had to write, everything I’ve had to do, these past two weeks.
I’m in my final hurtle as an undergrad. My last few days, really. When I turn in the paper on Wednesday, I’ll be finished. Done. And I know that the moment I can finally sit still, the moment I take a breath, the sadness that’s been shadowing me will, well… not to mix the metaphor, but I’m fatigued: it’ll crash over me like a wave. Like last night. Alan asked me about senior week, our last week together as roommates, as friends living in the same city, and just as I started to make plans, I had to stop, because I knew I was about to cry. And then I did cry.
I tend not to do this. Weep. Except when forced to say something sad–then I go off on this totally ungraceful, jagged, hiccupy thing. I suppose you can’t have dignity all the time, but I keep trying. Anyway, point is, I’m still alive, still writing, and I even took a break from it to…write some more. Because I love you, reader of this sad, lonely missive, and also I love Alan, who will certainly be grateful to have this pesto recipe when he’s not living with me anymore.
Since this is a food blog and I’m supposed to be writing instructive things about food, I should probably note that the recipe here is really for a pistou, not a pesto. Pesto has nuts. Pistou doesn’t. And even though this is a pistou, I’m not going to call it one, because I’m not French and not a prig and I don’t have my head up my ass. Not that any of those things are related, except maybe for the last two. That’s all for now, reader.
Spaghetti with Spinach & Herb Pesto
This recipe is extremely flexible. I added spinach and parsley to the requisite basil simply because I had it on hand. You can use any herb that plays well with basil and garlic: chives, for example. Even tomatoes.
-1/2 lb whole wheat spaghetti
- 4-6 tbsp spinach & herb pesto
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup freshly shelled English peas
- Finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
For the pesto:
- 1 large handful (2-3 cups) basil leaves
- 1-2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
Make the pesto. Combine garlic, Parmesan cheese, basil leaves, baby spinach leaves, parsley, and whatever other herbs you fancy in a blender or food processor with 1/4 cup of oil. Pulse to combine. Running the blender/food processor at a moderate clip, slowly pour in the rest of the olive oil until it reaches a consistency that one might describe as pesto-like. Or, pistou-like, if you prefer. Season with salt. Pulse some more. Set aside.
(Even better, use a mortar and pestle for this whole thing. I don’t have a mortar and pestle. Or a food processor. What I had was a blender.)
This will make more pesto than you need. You’re welcome. You can store it in a fairly airtight container for a fairly long time in the refrigerator.
Boil pasta in heavily salted water until it’s nice and al dente. Meanwhile, blanch the peas for 2 minutes, maybe less, certainly not more, until they’re tender and lovely and sweet. Drain, run under very cold water, set aside. When the pasta’s almost done, poach the eggs. This is a very easy thing, though I know it makes some people anxious. This is what I do: boil salted water in a small saucepan, crack the eggs into separate little bowls. When the water’s boiling, swirl a wooden spoon along the edge of the saucepan until a whirlpool forms. Drop the first egg in the center, wait a moment, then drop the second. Keep boiling the water until it begins to froth, then cut the heat completely. Wait and watch–probably two minutes until the white sets and the yolk is still nice and runny.
Combine hot pasta with pesto, adding a some of the starchy cooking liquid from the pasta to bind it all together. I use around 2 tbsp pesto per serving, but you can use as much or as little as you want. Arrange spaghetti on a plate, sprinkle with English peas and top with a poached egg. Shower Parmesan cheese over the spaghetti and the egg, until it’s all a lovely green-and-white, a snowy mountain, Bill said. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.