Monday, September 7, 2009
A Vegetarian Labor Day or Harvest Dinner
Labor Day can be a very social time or not so much.
We have a mix this weekend - we had a dinner with friends last night, I had friends over for breakfast this morning, but the rest of the weekend will be spent at Dancing in the Streets, Radio Free Bacon and with some good books.
Last night’s guests included a vegetarian, and since all of us love vegetarian cooking, I decided to go that route.
We had a truly great, if non-traditional, “Labor Day” dinner, that didn’t involve a grill in any way, shape or form.
Pasta with Basil-Pistachio Pesto, Roasted Tomatoes and Kale
For the slow roasted tomatoes and kale:
1 pint cherry tomatoes, rinsed and dried
1 1/2 cups washed, torn kale
1/2 TBS kosher salt
1 TBS olive oil
For the pasta and pesto:
4 cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano (domestic or other parmesan can be substituted, but it's best with the real thing)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup roasted, salted pistachios, shelled
1/3 cup olive oil minus 1 TBS
6 oz. of whole wheat fettucine
1 cup pasta water
1. About 4 1/2 - 5 hours prior to serving, preheat the oven to 225. Toss the kale and tomatoes with 1 TBS olive oil and 1/2 TBS kosher salt. Spread in roasting pan. Stick in oven and roast for 4 - 5 hours, stirring every hour and a half or so.
2. Bring pasta pot to a boil. Cook fettucine according to instructions.
3. While pasta is cooking, process pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender. Start with the garlic, cheese and nuts until ground fine, then process/blend basil, and finally process in the olive oil. There are recipes which will tell you to use the feed tube for the olive oil, but I go ahead and process the whole thing together and it's worked just fine.
4. When pasta is done, reserve a cup of the pasta water and drain and rinse the pasta with cold water to stop it from cooking and to remove some of the starch. Get a big bowl and toss the pasta with the pesto and pasta water until the pasta is well coated and the texture is how you like it. (You don't need to use all the pasta water - I usually use between 1/2 a cup and 2/3). Lastly, toss with the roasted tomatoes and crush and sprinkle the kale over all (when kale slow roasts, it becomes crisp).
Serve with lots of freshly ground pepper and grated parmesan to taste.
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 20.2 g
Saturated Fat 3.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 12.1 g
Cholesterol 6.6 mg
Sodium 172.8 mg
Potassium 500.8 mg
Total Carbohydrate 46.2 g
Dietary Fiber 9.7 g
Sugars 1.3 g
Protein 14.9 g
Note: While this is not a low calorie or low fat dish, keep in mind that saturated fats are very low and monosaturated (the good fats) are high. This also has a whopping 9.7 grams of fiber and 14.9 grams of protein.
We served this with Scaletta Green Bean Salad, Kalamata Olive Twists from Mill Pond Bread and Calder vanilla ice cream with this Peach Rum Sauce.
All the vegetables are at perfect ripeness and the dinner was a snap to prepare, even if I had to be home due to the slow roasted tomatoes and kale.
Enjoy your Labor Day festivities!
Photos: Vegetarian Labor Day dinner: Basil-Pistachio Pesto with Roasted Tomatoes and Kale, Scaletta Green Bean Salad and Olive Kalamata Twists; pan of tomatoes and kale ready to go into the oven; close-up of Basil-Pistachio Pesto with Roasted Tomatoes and Kale, vanilla ice cream with Peach Rum Sauce. All photos by Jennifer Shikes Haines.
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