favorite things: pasta!
Other than spaghetti, my family never really ate pasta while I was growing up, but when I discovered it in adulthood I decided it was simply a perfect food. I am quite happy with a bowl of capellini topped only with olive oil and good Parmigiano-Reggiano, but my very favorite way to eat it is with basil pesto.
Pesto came into my life nine years ago when I visited Chicago. Grabbing a quick lunch with my cousin on the steps of the Art Institute, I enjoyed my first panini with grilled chicken breast and pesto on sundried tomato focaccia. I still remember every bite of that meal because it was an explosion of flavor like none I’d ever had before. And I returned from that trip to proclaim the glories of pesto and focaccia, causing my mom to investigate for herself. After that, we were total converts. And it didn’t take long, as is always the case, for my mom to begin growing basil and making her own pesto. I’ve done that myself only a couple of times, but it is truly the most enjoyable flavor I have ever been privileged to taste.
This year I never got my basil plants started so I’m relying on refrigerated prepackaged pesto these days. Not all are made the same, of course, but I recently picked up a decent jar at Sam’s Club (if you can believe it) that is not packed in much oil and has the perfect pungent flavor of fresh pesto. Coupling that with pasta from my perfectly-sized IKEA cook pot, my summer meals are better than ever. And the fact that I don’t mind taking the time to prepare a meal is testament enough!