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Kids Love Pesto Pasta

…at least, my kids do.

Tonight, a friend on Twitter saw me mention how much our kids love pesto pasta, so she asked me to share my recipe as part of her “On the Grill” blog series (this week’s theme is For the Kids). Click over to see all the other great recipes and get some new ideas!

Pesto Pasta
Cook 1 box uncooked pasta (we usually use farfalle – or bow ties – but ziti works well too) according to package directions. Once pasta is drained, return to cooking pot.

In a food processor, buzz together:
2 handfuls fresh basil leaves or approximately 3 tablespoons processed basil*
1-2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (or a dash of cayenne pepper)
1 cup fresh grated parmesan or 1/2 cup regular parmesan (from those green containers)

Once the leaves are chopped up and combined well with the cheese, while the processor is still going, begin drizzling extra-virgin olive oil until it reaches the desired consistency. I don’t measure it, but I would guess I use approximately 1/2 cup. It should be thinner than paste, thicker than sauce. (How’s that for precise?)

Pour the pesto into the cooked pasta and toss to coat evenly.

*I like Garden Gourmet’s tubes of herbs when I don’t have fresh basil available and I’ve used up all my preserved basil. I find it near the fresh herbs in my grocery store’s produce section. If you want to preserve fresh basil, you can food-process it with a little olive oil and freeze it in air-tite baggies in pesto-size portions.

My kids like their pasta plain, but my husband and I like to add some grilled chicken to round out the meal. Tonight I tried a new marinade for the chicken.

Lemon Garlic Grilled Chicken
In a bowl, whisk together until emulsified*:
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dijon mustard

Soak two chicken breasts for at least half an hour. Grill as usual, basting with marinade if you wish.

*An emulsion is a suspension of small globules of one liquid in a second liquid with which the first will not mix: an emulsion of oil in vinegar.

If you try this, let me know how you (and your kids) like it!

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