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Green is not my favorite color, but when it comes to pasta it might as well be. I love delicate angel hair pasta sauced liberally with pesto: green! My mother makes fusilli with cream, bacon, Parmesan, and handfuls of still-crunchy steamed broccoli: green! All summer, I twirl spaghetti together with ribbons of zucchini: green!
If I'm feeling adrift and uncreative about dinner, picking the best-looking green ingredient at the market and pairing it with pasta is always a sure thing. Blanched asparagus, sautéed baby spinach, fresh basil, raw snap peas, or cooked kale would all make a perfect meal: Just add pasta, a knob of butter, and a shower of cheese.
Therefore, I felt a rush of certainty when I found this recipe for herb-crushed pasta from De Cecco. This is going to be my spirit pasta, I thought. It didn't disappoint, and it won't let you down.
It's absolutely gorgeous: flecked with garlicky sautéed herbs and rich with butter. Just before serving, you add a few more fistfuls of chopped fresh herbs to really turn up the green factor. Your kitchen will smell fantastic when you make it, as you'll be chopping fresh rosemary, thyme, marjoram, sage, basil, and parsley together.
Then you sauté half of the herbs with garlic, leaving the other half fresh—and then sort of smoosh them all together. Since half of them are cooked, they become softer and almost paste-like, whereas the rest of the chopped fresh ones stay sturdier.
Wonderful on its own, this pasta would be an excellent base for summer produce. I can imagine topping it with fresh mozzarella and raw cherry tomatoes, or fried zucchini blossoms, or roasted heirloom tomatoes and Parmesan...
- 1 pound pasta
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 bay leaf, minced
- 3 sage leaves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram
- 1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
This article originally ran in June of 2016.