My family is committing the ultimate act of patriotism this 4th of July.
You will see not a single bout of smoke coming from our barbecue.
You will smell not a single burger (black bean or otherwise) sizzling on our grill.
You will hear not a single note of Lee Greenwood’s “Proud To Be An American” emanating from our backyard boom box (though man, do I ever love that song).
(And no, that’s not because we have finally entered the 21st century and gotten rid of that thing. It’s still, uh, booming. Usually to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s Christmas album. Yes, even in July. Frank refuses to be held down by things like seasons or holidays. He’s above that.)
I know, right? This is all very confusing to me also.
But at 9pm last night, after my countless hours of menu planning and google searching and immersing myself in red, white, and blue pinterest boards that made me feel thoroughly inept, unaccomplished, and like an all-around bad citizen for not finding ways to make everything I was planning on serving star-spangled in some way.
After purchasing enough groceries to feed the army that is the EatsWellWithOthers family, along with my darling boyfriend who eats enough for five of me.
I was informed by my father that plans had changed. We were going out to dinner.
“But, but, my red, white and blue tart!” I shrieked (because, yes I did finally succumb to peer pressure and star spangled at least one aspect of my life).
To no avail.
We have a right to fill our bodies with as much heavy, over-oiled Italian food as we damn well please, people. And we are going to exercise it!
Truly, the only thing that would have been more all-American would have been if we’d ordered Chinese take-out. And I’m still not entirely convinced that that won’t end up happening.
Wherever you are and whatever you’re eating, have a fabulous 4th of July!
And if you’re still looking for a side dish to accompany whatever’s going on your grill this evening or you’re going the non-traditional route, this pasta is perfect. The pesto makes it taste like summer while the sugar snaps offer hints of sweetness amidst that delicious garlic pungency. And ricotta dollops? Totally the icing on the cake.
PS – If you can’t find garlic scapes, then feel free to just use regular garlic!
Pasta with Garlic Scapes Pesto, Sugar Snap Peas, and Ricotta
Serves 4, adapted from Cook This Now
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 3/4 cup basil
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced garlic scapes (or 4-5 cloves of garlic)
- 1/4 cup good parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lb whole wheat pasta
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 lb sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh ricotta, for serving
- Toast the pine nuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat until they start to smell nutty and turn golden, about 3 minutes. Pour the nuts onto a plate to cool.
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pine nuts, basil, garlic scapes, cheese and salt. Process until the herbs are finely chopped and everything is mixed. Add the oil and process until smooth. Add salt to taste.
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add the peas and a pinch of salt and saute until they are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.
- Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup pasta water and toss with the pesto and peas. Add pasta water as needed so the pesto becomes more sauce-like. Season with salt to taste. Top with dollops of fresh ricotta and black pepper.