17 Inspired Pasta Dishes for Hot Days

Fairytale Pasta with Herb Oil
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Fairytale Pasta with Herb Oil

"I call this Fairytale Pasta because the fava beans look like the magic beans from Jack and the Beanstalk (and I cook for a lot of families with small children),” says NYC-based private Chef, Lisa Adams. "I make my summertime pasta salads with an herb oil so they're safe to take to the beach or to a picnic with no refrigeration."

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of pasta
  • 1 cup fava beans, shelled (shelled edamame or frozen lima beans are great substitutions)
  • 1 cup mushrooms, cleaned
  • 1 cup asparagus, sliced into coins or on the bias in 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup herb oil*

Directions:

1. While the pasta is boiling, sauté the vegetables in a large skillet in a little bit of oil, season with salt and pepper. 

2. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.

3. Add the pasta to the skillet. Pour in the herb oil and a little bit of the pasta water to the pan. Stir until everything is combined and a bit thickened.

4. Add in the cheese and serve.

5. *Herb Oil: Most recipes only call for a few tbsp. Of fresh herbs and I am left with a bundle of flavorful greens that end up wasted. Now I puree them (tender herbs like basil, chives, tarragon, parsley, cilantro) in the food processor or blender with olive oil and freeze them until I need them. These oils melt perfectly into hot dishes like pasta. There are many different techniques: blanching the herbs, boiling the oil, overnight infusions, multiple strainings, etc.

6. Shortcut version: Puree 1 part herbs to 3 parts oil until smooth. Pour into a freezer safe container. Take it out and use when you want to make simple things fancy! I drizzle these oils over grilled meats, onto salads, oven roasted vegetables, dot onto soups, marble them into mashed potatoes, or to add color and flavor to just about anything.