How to make pasta with basil

We often stock up on vegetables at a local farmstand run by a boisterous team of sisters in the nearby town of Fiumicino. It’s a typical weekend pilgrimage for us that in the pandemic we often combine with a lunch outing. Our restaurants are still closed for dinner in Italy so we are learning to adapt our outside of the house adventures to pandemic cautious mid-day meals.

In Italy, it’s also common for a vegetable shop to toss some free celery, carrots, and herbs into your shopping bag at the register. They call it odori in Italian, which literally means smells. As a former New Yorker who bought my pricey herbs in minute proportions, this seems like a miracle.

Last Saturday, the sisters tossed a big bunch of free basil that reeked of summer into our veggie stuffed bags.

I wasn’t in the mood for pounding out the pesto in a mortar and pestle this weekend but the basil needed to be eaten so I made a super quick and easy pasta by mincing the basil along with some garlic and tossing it in a skillet with some olive oil.

Think of it as pesto light.

Or dinner for the cost of pasta. The basil was free after all.

Or a meal you can make in as much time as it takes to boil a pot of water and cook your pasta. I used fresh gnocchi which cooked in about 1 minute.

Pasta with basil

Serves 2

  • 1 bunch of basil, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 250 grams pasta – I used fresh gnocchi
  1. Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the garlic and basil in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over low heat until the garlic is golden.
  3. Season with salt and black pepper.
  4. Cook the pasta.
  5. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with the basil and garlic and toss.
  6. Add some cheese and toss.
  7. Cook over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds while tossing.
  8. Plate, top with more cheese and serve.

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