Today I had some less-than-stellar service from what used to be one of my favorite restaurants in Tulsa. I had a Living Social deal for Pita Place that expired today, so I decided to get lunch for today and tomorrow with the $20 I had to spend. It seemed like a good idea, especially since I didn’t go grocery shopping on Sunday as I prefer to do. I was spoken to rudely (he said as I was about to order, “decide what you want” and then almost went back to the kitchen even though I never indicated I hadn’t figured it out), half my lunch order was ignored, and it took him 30 minutes to prepare my to-go order even though there were only two people there when I arrived and I ordered it at the same time as my lunch. Plus, when I opened it up, he had left a couple of things out. I have no idea what caused this 180 – he used to be really friendly to me. I wasn’t rude or anything either. He was polite to others even. I know I can be a pill, but I swear I wasn’t in this instance. All in all, I will never go back. It was really that unpleasant. I love, love supporting local restaurants, but I still demand professional, courteous service. Do you ever choose to stop patronizing a business because of curt – not necessarily terrible – service?
Anyway, the real point of this post is to share tonight’s dinner.
Sha-boing. This, my friends, is a love affair with local produce. Everything vegetabley you see came from the farmers market, other than the red bell pepper. Plus, the pesto is very low-fat but still incredibly delicious. Here’s how to work the magic.
Low-fat Pesto Pasta Extravaganza
- Large bunch of fresh basil, or about 3 cups
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
- Juice of one lemon
- Small handful of raw almonds (somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 pound whole wheat linguine
- 1 pound green beans, ends snapped off and broken into bite-size pieces
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1.5 to 2 cups summer squash, diced (I used baby patty pan, zucchini, and yellow crookneck, but any would be great)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 to 2 cups cherry or other small tomatoes, cut in half, quarters, or left whole
First, make the pesto. Add to a blender or food processor the basil, garlic, lemon juice, almonds, nutritional yeast, black pepper, and water as needed to blend/process. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the linguine until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the green beans: either steam them until tender or add them to a large pan sprayed with a little olive oil and/or some water until tender. Set aside. Re-spray the pan with olive oil or add some water and the onion. Cook until translucent. Now add the squash and bell pepper, and cook until softened and/or lightly browned. Add the cherry tomatoes and the green beans and cook about two minutes longer. Now add the pasta and the pesto, tossing to combine.
Serves 4 (or 2.5 in my household!). It’s also tasty cold as a pasta salad.
My boyfriend asked me to note that this is pesto Genovese (despite the absence of pine nuts — it’s either a pound of them or my water bill), since I take most opportunities to school folks on the fact that pesto has nothing in particular to do with basil. The green stuff is in the style of Genoa. The more you know.
And now I must remove some very fragrant banana bread from the oven. More on that soon.