arugula pistou with hazelnut panko and summer veggies

I'll never forget the first time I made pesto. It was like any moment when Ariel from the Little Mermaid is singing. Magic. So when I learned this week that there is a French version of pesto called pistou, I was pretty surprised. Long story short? It's like pesto but without the cheese and thicker. I only know because I googled it and found a great article about it.

Like many Americans, I signed up for a meal delivery service and then forgot to cancel it... so that's how I ended up cooking this meal.  But man, it is good and brought me some good lessons on what to do with pasta and pistou and to never regret adding goat cheese to anything. 

The thing about this meal delivery service (Green Chef) is that they do a bit of the work for you - which is great. All the onions were chopped, the sauce was made, things were measured. This must be what it feels like to be on a cooking show. Everything was practically done. The downside is that they don't tell you how they made the "arugula pistou" or the "hazelnut breadcrumbs". But thanks to the magic of the internet, I have some rough guesses that will get us close.

I made this for dinner one night and ate it when it was still warm (despite the heat wave). But I can also attest that it is delicious cold because that's how I ate it last night. Wrapped in a beach towel by the pool trying to teach my friend's baby girl to say "I'm the Boss". I'm so helpful.

This recipe is rather perfect for your summer garden. Take your herby stuff and make the pistou. Grab your snap peas and tomatoes. This came together real quick for me but that's really because all the prep was done already. That being said, it's not challenging. And maybe make a little extra pistou and keep it in the fridge for your next summer meal. Here's how my presentation compared to the original. I think it came out fine.
Here's how it goes.

(Step 1) Preheat oven to 400 and bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add wholewheat spaghetti to boiling water. Cook about 8-10 minutes or until al dente.

(Step 2) Combine cauliflower and breadcrumb ingredients (panko, parm, hazelnuts) in a bowl. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Spread out the mixture evenly on a baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

(Step 3) Make the pistou. Follow these directions in this recipe.

(Step 4) Veggie prep. Cut mushrooms into about ¼-inch thick slices. Halve grape tomatoes and snap peas. 

(Step 5) Cook mushrooms and red onions in a medium-high pan. Probably about 5 minutes or so. Then add in the snap peas. Cook 2 more minutes. Then turn off the heat and add in the tomatoes. 

(Step 6) Add mascarpone and goat cheese blend to pan. Combine pretty well but no need to be perfect. Then add in the cooked pasta and arugula pistou. 

(Step 7) Plate the pasta and heavily sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the pasta. ENJOY.

Shopping List (for 2-3 servings)
4 ½ ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
3 tablespoons Mascarpone & goat cheese blend (50/50)
5 tablespoons red onions, diced
1 cup cremini mushrooms
2 cups cauliflower, finely diced
1 cup grape tomatoes
3 ounces snap peas
1/3 cup panko flakes
1/3 cup finely chopped hazelnut (might need the food processor)
1/4 cup parmesan


Arugula pistou (modified this recipe in thirds)

1 garlic cloves
1 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cup baby arugula
2-3 tablespoons good quality olive oil

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