Things have been a little crazy around my house these days. In the past four days we've hosted my parents who are in town for a visit, bought three baby chickens which are now living in a Rubbermaid bin in my garage and made a late-night trip to the emergency room for a boy sick with croup.
Somewhere in there before the kid was sick, we squeezed in a trip to the zoo, and I needed a lunch that would feed four adults and a kid without much fuss. I thought given everything else that's going on, I'd just make it a theme to be fuss-free for a few days. This pasta dish is perfect for just such occasions. It's made straight from your pantry when you want something a little more upscale than a peanut butter and jelly. In fact, I made it when I catered my cousin's bridal luncheon and just topped it with grilled shrimp for a sophisticated feel.
So if you could use a recipe for a dish that can easily go from brown-bag lunch to Saturday entertaining, write this one down. And in full disclosure, in case it's not blatantly obvious, it's not my recipe any more than anyone owns a pesto recipe. This is just the way I make it.
Lemon Artichoke Pesto
1 pound pasta (I like a short-cut like rotini with lots of curls to scoop up pesto)
About 1/8 cup toasted pine nuts
About 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup, plus, olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Handful of arugula (or parsley or any other soft-leaf herb you like)
Cook pasta according to package directions. Once drained, toss in olive oil and let it cool. Set aside. Place the remaining ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor and whiz it all together until it combines, adding in additional olive oil until you get a consistency similar to a grainy mustard. Toss pasta in pesto and either serve immediately or refrigerate.