Dinner For Friends: BLT Pizza & Four-Herb Pesto Pasta

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It’s finally beginning to warm up again! The snow is melting (slowly) and I am ready for Spring. I’ve been ready. You know when you buy a new article of clothing but it’s not time to wear it yet so all you think about is wearing it? That’s me right now with these blue and yellow shorts I bought a few months ago. I am DYING to wear either pair. I need a 75 degree day like nobody’s business. 

The past few nights have been very laid back. Last night we had a friend over for dinner and I made BLT pizza. I actually made this pizza for just Luke and I last Friday but forgot to take a photo. I know, I’m super lame. Good thing it was one of the best things I’ve made since I’ve started this experience because I cooked it again for the picture. With center-cut turkey bacon, fresh romaine lettuce and cherry tomatoes, this is one of my new favorite pizzas. The sauce is a spicy caesar dressing and the mozzarella cheese folds everything together perfectly. I was not expecting this to taste as good as it did when I first found the idea. And seriously, how simple is this? Add this on your list of “must makes”.

Tonight is “beer night” in the apartment. Luke has started brewing his own beer and tonight is some really big super important step in that process. I have no idea what they’re doing with it, but it smells really good in the kitchen right now. My brother came over and joined us for a four-herb pesto pasta. Again, this was incredibly easy to make and so fresh. Luke’s friend used the word “herbacious”. Yes, I know it’s not a real word, but it sounded perfect. Using all fresh ingredients, this truly made me want summer. It’s like I could taste it in every bite. I served this with a french roll! Tomorrow night is shrimp night; I’m already excited.

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Photo by Allyson Grillo

BLT Pizza

slightly adapted from Bev Cooks

 

yields 2 small pizzas

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pieces of naan bread
  • 1/2 cup creamy caesar dressing (of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 8 slices center cut turkey bacon
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups roughly chopped romaine lettuce

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place turkey bacon on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet. Place in cold oven and turn oven on to 450 degree. Cook bacon for 20-25 minutes; slice into small chunks once cooked. (If you prefer to fry your bacon, please do!)
  2. Mix red pepper flakes with caesar dressing and spread over the naan bread, followed by 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Add bacon and tomatoes, then the other 1/2 cup of cheese.
  3. Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your bread. Once finished, remove and add chopped lettuce. Then devour it.

 

Image

Photo by Allyson Grillo

Four-Herb Pesto Pasta

slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma

yields 4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 Tbs. fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 Tbs. fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. spaghetti

DIRECTIONS

  1. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of lightly salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Finely chop the basil, parsley, tarragon and sage and place in a bowl. Sprinkle in the lemon juice and stir to coat the herbs with the juice.
  3. Combine the garlic, Parmesan and pine nuts in a blender or food processor. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and process until the mixture is creamy and blended. Pour the oil mixture into the bowl with the herbs and stir to combine.
  4. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the pasta is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes or according to package directions. Drain the pasta and transfer to a serving bowl. Toss with the pesto, add a pinch or two of salt and a few grinds of pepper. 
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