Our supper tonight was the perfect summer feast. We had whole wheat rotini tossed with homemade Basil Sunflower Seed Pesto (another nut-free pesto; see recipe below), mozzarella, and heirloom tomatoes. Free-range hard-boiled eggs were served on the side. The perfect drink accompanied my meal: iced tea (made with red raspberry leaf, nettles, and mint).
I just can’t stop smiling about the tomatoes. Since I’m the big tomato lover in the family, I got to finish off the heirloom tomato all by myself. It was heavenly. Really–I actually said out loud, “I think heaven tastes like fresh summer tomatoes.” There is nothing like a freshly picked, ripe tomato. I have been looking forward to my first ripe tomato since waving goodbye to last summer’s tomato crop at our local farm. It was totally worth the wait.
Basil Sunflower Seed Pesto
4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
1 cup unhulled raw sunflower seeds (I used hulled)
1/2 – 1 cup olive oil (I found 1/2 cup to be too little)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp sweet butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, crushed
In a blender in batches, or in a food processor, puree the basil with the sunflower seeds, the oil, the Parmesan, the butter, the garlic, and salt to taste. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl and lay plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent discoloration. The pesto keeps, covered and chilled, for 2 weeks. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
To use the pesto: For every pound of dried pasta cooking in a kettle of boiling salted water, stir together in a heated serving bowl 3/4 cup pesto and 2/3 cup hot pasta cooking water. When the pasta is al dente, drain it in a colander, add it to the pesto mixture, and toss the mixture with lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.