beyond casserole

This week’s dinner–featuring a pesto pasta with green beans and a side dish of grilled green beans with carrot and onion–turned out not only delicious and fairly simple, but also oh so gloriously local. For the proverbial record, I’d like to note that the garlic, red onion and cherry tomatoes hailed from Tantre Farm in Chelsea, MI, the carrots from Sunseed Farm in Ann Arbor, and the green beans from Fusilier Family Farms in Manchester, MI, and all were purchased from the always satisfying Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market. The following two photos are submitted as evidence of this town’s fantastic market days.

The basil, however, arrived at the kitchen even more locally. Annie’s friend Ruth tends a plot in a communal vegetable patch just a few minutes from Annie and Andrew’s house, and she graciously allowed us to pick a generous amount of the herb for the evening’s meal. Thank you, Ruth!

pesto pasta with green beans

2 cups fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
2 cups gold cherry tomatoes, halved
1 package whole wheat fettuccini

Lightly toast the pine nuts in a pan over medium heat until golden brown.

Combine basil, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse until well chopped. While the machine is running, slowly add the olive oil, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl one or two times. Puree until almost smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the grated cheeses. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the green beans and pasta and cook 9-10 minutes or until pasta is cooked through. Drain beans and pasta.

Add pesto and tomatoes t0 the pasta and green beans and toss to coat. Top with additional grated cheese.

grilled green beans with carrot & red onion

1/3 cup olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, crushed or minced to a paste
5-6 carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
1 red onion, chopped
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
zest of 1 lemon
salt to taste

Combine olive oil and garlic in a bowl. Add the green beans, carrots, and onion and toss by hand till uniformly coated.

Wrap the vegetables tightly in tin foil and place on grill. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender.

Remove to a serving dish, season with salt and finish with freshly grated lemon zest.

the dinner

It was a happy and hungry foursome that gathered round the dinner table for the evening’s green bean-centric meal. Annie, Andrew, and dear friend Julia joined me in testing the two recipes detailed above, and the consensus–measured in smiles and seconds–was very much in favor of both dishes. In particular, the diners lauded the crunchiness of the grilled vegetables and the special zing added by the lemon zest. The pesto, meanwhile, was voted outright decadent. All in all, the meal pleased aesthetically and gastronomically, and supplied a fine excuse to be together.

Again, be sure to get a local forkful of the wondrous green bean before it’s too late!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Amy says:

    So I made the pesto pasta tonight for dinner and it was a HUGE hit with the whole family. I made one small change: almonds instead of pine nuts. Given the size of my boys and their eating capacity, lots of pine nuts can be cost prohibitive. It still tasted divine. I got the tomatoes from the Farmers’ Market, along with half the beans. The other half of the beans and the basil were from my pitiful little 2′ x 4′ sunny spot garden in my shady yard. I was quite proud. At any rate, the pasta, served with delish bread and some FMkt honeyrock melon made for a wonderful dinner. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Mary Lewandoski says:

    Thanks for the great ideas! I served up the pesto/bean/tomato dish on a thin WW spaghetti to Peter, Chris and Lisa out on our deck last night. It turned out great. I also made a cucumber/tomato/black olive salad tossed with a garlic basalmic/red wine vinegar mixed with basil olive oil. I’m looking forward to your vegetable- tomatoes? cucumber? zucchini?…. so much to choose from. I really enjoy the beansprout diaries. I’m thinking of using this in my gardening elective at school with my 7th/8th grade students.
    Mary Lewandoski

  3. Mary Lewandoski says:

    Thanks for the great ideas! I served up the pesto/bean/tomato dish on a thin WW spaghetti to Peter, Chris and Lisa out on our deck last night. It turned out great. I also made a cucumber/tomato/black olive salad tossed with a garlic basalmic/red wine vinegar mixed with basil olive oil and some olive oil spiced garlic bread. I’m looking forward to your vegetable- tomatoes? cucumber? zucchini?…. so much to choose from. I really enjoy the sprout diaries. I’m thinking of using this in my gardening elective at school with my 7th/8th grade students.
    Mary Lewandoski

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