Blogs seem to be heavy with summer travel these days and we are no different. The whole fam’ just returned from a week out in the wild west complete with a 4th of July parade filled with faux jail floats, mountain men covered in raw hide, and horses—234 of them to be exact.
There’s something particularly patriotic about spending the nation’s birthday in a place that feels as if it could’ve been settled yesterday. Especially when we decide to partake in firework viewing from the open tailgate of our Volvo in a Walmart parking lot—doesn’t get much more American than that.
But now we are home, I’ve got an inch of dirt under my fingernails from all the weeds I had to dig out of the garden and on a walk today some random guy said hello to my kids and then said “¡Hola! They probably understand that better, huh.” What?!
Anyway, I’m still recovering from spending 12 consecutive hours in the car with my children one (who shall remain nameless) only slept a grand total of 33 minutes the entire time. And I’m in no mood to make the über gourmet meal I usually whip together so I’m falling back on this deliciously simple pasta that I like to make with the herbs from the garden. I use spinach as the backbone for this pesto-esque sauce and then add whatever herbs are plentiful, so feel free to switch it up, tarragon, oregano, or arugula would be good here as well.
The best thing about this pasta is I can make the sauce and toss it with the pasta in the afternoon then just loosely cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit out at room temperature until dinner time. This gives the pasta a chance to soak up all the herby goodness from the sauce and when we are ready to eat all I have to do is toss in the tomatoes, drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with some pine nuts and we are ready to eat.
- 2 cups spinach
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 1/2 cup basil leaves
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped chives
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, divided
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 pound rigatoni or other tubular pasta
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- chive blossoms for garnish (optional)
- Combine spinach, mint, basil, chives, half of the pine nuts, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Turn machine off, scrape down the sides and pulse again until sauce is smooth. Add more salt or lemon juice as needed then either set aside until pasta is cooked or transfer to a tightly-sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Bring a large pot of heavily-salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and return to cooking pot. Add about 3/4 of the herb sauce and toss, adding more if pasta seems dry. This pasta can be served hot, room temperature, or cold, but I think it is best at room temperature. After you've mixed the pasta with the sauce, spoon it out onto a large platter and cover loosely with plastic wrap (you can let it sit out for an hour or so). When ready to serve toss in the tomatoes, drizzle with a little more olive oil, and sprinkle with the remaining pine nuts and chive blossoms.
- If you'd rather have it hot, just toss the tomatoes in immediately and drizzle the olive oil and sprinkle the pine nuts and blossoms onto each serving.
- If you'd like it cold, just stick it in the fridge, covered, after you've added the sauce. Then once it is chilled, toss in the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle the nuts and blossoms on top.