Homemade Pasta with Lemon & Parsley Pesto Sauce

Homemade Pasta with Lemon & Parsley Pesto Sauce

It’s summertime and the food is easy. But if you’re like me, right about now at the end of the July you are already starting to feel a little bit of grill burnout. As much as I look forward to the lightly charred taste of a well-marinated chicken fresh off the grates, or the breezy simplicity of kicking back on the patio with some hamburgers and hotdogs, sometimes I crave the lighter, fresher tastes of the season.

Late summer offers some of the best fresh fruits and vegetables available all year. Local farmers’ markets and backyard gardens are beginning to show off juicy red tomatoes, sweet stone fruits, and fragrant herbs that speak to every sense. Such pure ingredients allow for the creation of simple dishes with big flavors that come naturally. It’s the lazy season, after all; you might as well let nature do all the work.

Enter: fresh pasta. It’s the perfect canvas for displaying fresh summertime flavors. In this dish, I combine homemade spaghetti with a light lemon and parsley pesto sauce that’s finished with creamy mascarpone cheese. Parsley pesto is very similar to the traditional basil version we all know but with a welcome, slightly subdued change of flavor. Diced tomato, crumbled feta cheese, toasted pine nuts, and toasted buttery breadcrumbs seasoned with parsley and lemon zest add a Mediterranean vibe with “yum” written all over it.

Except for making the pasta, this dish requires minimal work. Of course, you can make this recipe even easier with dry pasta and a jar of pesto sauce, but when a recipe is this simple, it’s worth it to put in the extra effort. I know that making fresh pasta is not for everyone. I get it—pasta is supposed to be a quick and easy thing—and believe me, I do not break out the pasta machine every time I want a bowl of macaroni. But fresh pasta is much lighter and more delicate than dry. Make the pasta and the pesto from scratch (or—shh—buy fresh). You will taste the difference.

Ingredients

  • Except for making the pasta, this dish requires minimal work. Of course, you can make this recipe even easier with dry pasta and a jar of pesto sauce, but when a recipe is this simple, it’s worth it to put in the extra effort. I know that making fresh pasta is not for everyone. I get it—pasta is supposed to be a quick and easy thing—and believe me, I do not break out the pasta machine every time I want a bowl of macaroni. But fresh pasta is much lighter and more delicate than dry. Make the pasta and the pesto from scratch (or—shh—buy fresh). You will taste the difference.
  • With mascarpone cheese, tomato, feta, pine nuts, & toasted breadcrumbs
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  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts, divided
  • Parsley pesto (recipe follows)
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • Dry or homemade pasta, any shape (recipe follows)
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Read the whole recipe on Cook's Book