by Hayley Snow from Lucy Burdette's Key West food critic mystery series
You all know I'm a food critic, right? Here's my theory about dinner: Even if your life is whirling like a cyclone, taking a little time to get a decent, home-cooked meal on the table can help things feel almost normal. And we are crazy busy around here. Miss Gloria has a new job and she's driving all over town (lord help us), Lorenzo's acting nutty, Connie's not feeling well, and Wally's too wrapped up in the magazine and his mother's illness to remember Valentine's Day is right around the corner.
Enter walnut and spinach pesto on pasta!
In wintertime, even in tropical Key West, vegetables are not at their best. Luckily, Miss Gloria keeps a few pots of herbs and tomatoes on the deck of the houseboat so at least our food can have a touch of summer.
If you have the ingredients on hand, this is a super fast meal that can be on the table in 30 minutes and look as if you've been cooking all day. I serve it with a mixed green salad with winter radishes and some cherry tomatoes. We love this version of pesto--I think that the addition of the spinach tones down the sharpness of the basil just enough.
Walnut and Spinach Pesto
2 large sprigs basil, about 10 leaves
1 large garlic clove
3 oz spinach
3 oz walnuts
3-4 oz good quality parmesan
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
In a food processor, whir the garlic for 30 seconds, then add the walnuts and parmesan in succession. Add the basil and spinach and process until almost smooth. Pour in olive oil, continuing to pulse until it's the right consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.
Cook 3/4 of a pound of good quality Italian pasta until al dente (just soft.) (I have gotten addicted to the pasta sold at Eataly in New York City. You can buy their products online. Yes, the pasta is three times as expensive as supermarket spaghetti, but it is honestly light years better.) Add the pesto to the pasta in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. That's it!
Fatal Reservations, the sixth book in the Key West series, will be in bookstores on July 7, but you can certainly order it now!
Meanwhile, let's have a contest--tell us about your favorite stress-reducing supper and leave your email, and you'll be entered in a drawing for the new book.