What better simple pleasure is there than a fine cheese? Well if you’re me, not much! Truly, I can make an entire meal out of cheese and it’s practically a major food group in my diet. BMW doesn’t consider it a meal unless there’s meat involved and I sorta feel the same way about cheese. Ok maybe not every meal but you know what I’m sayin! I usually find just about any excuse to add a sprinkle here or there to juuuuuust about anything haha.
This recipe came about after a few things happened. First, I attended this amazing cheese event with Parmigiano Reggiano. Yes! There is actually a whole entire consorzio over in Italy dedicated to Parmesan! Not to be confused with the green bottle of ’90’s childhoods but actual real, delicious parmesan. The event was hosted by Parmigiano Reggiano at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop with local chef extrodianire Drew Curren of Italic, Easy Tiger, 24 Diner, arro and soon to be Irene’s. At the event we tasted three different types of parmesan and they walked us through the differences in each. It can’t be called Parmigiano Reggiano unless it’s been aged for at least 12 months and has the official dotted rind, so look for that when you’re shopping. We got to taste the milder 14 month cheese which is hard to find in the US simply because after it ages it’s difficult to get here in time to be sold as a 14 month. The 24 month is the most common and middle of the road perfect for everything cheese and the 36 month is a bolder, stinker cheese that can add that distinct flavor to any dish! There is so much more to this cheese and well all cheeses. In fact, I’ve taken more cheese classes than I have wine classes. Each cheese is nuanced by the time of year it was made, what the cows or goats or sheep ate that day, how long it’s aged and so many other things! Just like wine, there is always, always something new to learn about cheese! Basically, we could spend a lifetime learning about cheese. And wine. And lets just throw in beer for good measure. Sounds like a good life to me!
The endless summer that I am currently living in Austin, TX is made far more bearable by my still abundant supply of basil coming from the backyard! Yes, that is the second thing that made this recipe come about! My basil babies are nearly three feet tall and almost toppling over with fat green leaves. And you know who is food besties with basil? Parmigiano Reggiano! How’d ya guess? When I came home from the event loaded down with parmesan wedges I knew that a perfectly pungent pesto was calling my name. Well my pesto isn’t actually a real pesto because I don’t use nuts, but it sure is delicious and so easy to whip up in my fancy, shmancy new Vitamix. Yes, I am still blending everything sight! There’s no stopping me now! I’ll take any chance I get to use my beloved kitchen gadet, so enter this recipe 🙂 I love this dish because it is as easy as boling noodles, putting everything else in a blender and then tossing the two together! The easiest little vegetarian meal there ever was! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!Garden Basil Bucatini with Parmigiano Reggiano Recipe
1/2 lb bucatini
2 cups of fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup of olive oil
3 cloves of fresh garlic
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, divided (I used 24 month but any will do!)
- Boil noodles until al dente, about 8 minutes.
- Drain but do not rinse. Reserve 1/8 cup of pasta water.
- Blend basil, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and 1/8 cup parmesan in a food processor for about 30 seconds or until well mixed but not smooth. You want a little chunky-ness! Add a teaspoon of water if needed to help blend.
- Toss bucatini together with pesto and pasta water. Top with remaining parimigiano reggiano! I love a few shakes of fresh black pepper too!