Pesto is not just for summer! You can use seasonal greens to make it year-round, as in this recipe for fettuccine with swiss chard pistachio pesto and butternut squash.
Except not really because apparently science never sleeps. Even during snowpocalypses.
I tried to explain to the cells I’ve been growing that maybe this would be the time to go into hibernation (or in cell talk – senescence), but they’re being a little bit stubborn lately. They must be teenagers in cell years.
To be honest, I’m actually a little miffed because as a product of the New York City school system, if there’s one thing you learn by the end of your thirteen year tenure as a student, it’s that there is a strict NO SCHOOL DAY LEFT BEHIND policy at the Board of Ed.
There are no hurricane days. There are no cold days. There are no hot days. And snow days are pretty much mired in as much mystery and intrigue as the tooth fairy. I mean, you’ve heard they exist (in New Jersey), but there is no hard proof.
At least, that’s how it was when I was a kid.
Kids these days? At least one snow day a year, minimum, or they get an extra day off at the end of the year.
They have it easy.
I’m pretty sure it goes without saying that I am officially over winter and craving the bright and happy flavors of summer. Pesto, for instance, never fails to put me in a good mood so I’ve been playing with a few wintry spins on it that still pack that blazing basil flavor but with a kick from some of winter’s heartier leafy greens. I’ve always had a soft spot for swiss chard and it happens to make a lovely, if unconventional, pesto when paired with pistachios and basil. Tossed with fettuccine cooked to the perfect al dente and butternut squash cubes that have been roasted until caramelized and sweet, it has enough staying power to qualify as a solid winter dinner, but also reminds us that this cold can’t possibly last forever.
- 2 tbsp + ⅓ cup olive oil, divided
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 lb fettuccine
- 2 bunches of swiss chard, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 oz basil
- ⅓ cup pistachio meat
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- Heat oven to 400F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Toss the butternut squash cubes with 2 tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until tender.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Remove the leaves from one bunch of swiss chard and cut into thin strips. Add to the pasta water during the last minute of cooking. Drain, reserving ⅓ cup of cooking water, and set aside.
- To make the pesto, combine the leaves from the second bunch of swiss chard, garlic, basil, and pistachios in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until very finely minced. Slowly pour in the olive oil as the machine is running. Add the parmesan cheese and pulse until combined. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Toss the pasta with the butternut squash cubes, pesto, and reserved cooking water. Serve warm.
More pesto recipes:
From Around the Web:
Roasted Vegetable White Bean and Pesto Hummus Pizza from Oh My Veggies
Creamy Pesto Caprese Pasta Casserole from Closet Cooking
Spinach Pesto with Almond Flour Pasta from Hip Foodie Mom
Spaghetti with Broccoli Pesto from Very Culinary
Crostini with Cilantro Pesto and Mashed Carrots from A Thought For Food