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Basil Pesto Handkerchief Pasta | for the love of the south

My bedroom window opens to a view of a small garden. Since we moved into our house in the dead of winter, I must admit I didn’t think much of our neighbor’s garden. But this past week, I found myself standing at the window each morning, watching our dear neighbor, Lilly, in her oversized straw hat and daisy print gardening gloves tending to the garden.

If you walk down the stone pathway lined with violets, hyacinths, and lilies, you will be greeted into the garden with the warm scent of honey coming from a fig tree. It’s sprawling branches and leaves act as an umbrella. A sort of safe haven in the center of the garden. Past the fig tree is a raised bed dedicated to tomatoes: cherry and grape tomatoes, yellow pear-shaped ones, fat beefsteak and elongated Romas. The raised bed closest to the fence that divides our lots is filled, and I mean filled, with basil. That’s it. Just basil. Our fence is covered with grapevines and tiny grape clusters, which remind me of baubles I used to find in my grandmother’s jewelry box.



I caught Lilly’s eye from my bedroom window, and we waved to each other. She pointed to the massive bed of basil and cupped her hands to her mouth, “I can’t imagine a summer without basil, can you?”  I shook my head and smiled in complete agreement.

The next morning, I opened my front door and found a lovely bouquet, not of freshly picked flowers, but of basil, and a note that read “… so you’re prepared for the summer. –Lilly”

Basil Pesto Pasta | for the love of the south

{GIVEAWAY | To enter the All-Clad d5 Stainless Steel All-In-One Pan Giveaway, leave a comment below letting me know your favorite summertime dishes between now and midnight, June 2nd. The winner will be chosen randomly and will be contacted via email on June 3rd. Limit 1 comment per person, pretty please!}

Basil Pesto Handkerchief Pasta | for the love of the south


Handkerchief Pasta with Basil Pesto

Serves 2

Note: You can make the basil pesto ahead of time and just stash it in the fridge to have on hand for a quick and easy meal. Also, the pasta can be made ahead. Once you have rolled out and cut the pasta, place the fresh pasta in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, stack the frozen pasta in a gallon-sized freezer bag and stash away until you are ready to boil! 

200g all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Generous pinch red pepper flakes

1 large bunch of basil, leaves only

¾ cup olive oil

½ lemon, juiced

1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Extra virgin olive oil, to finish

Sea salt & black pepper, to season

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add flour and a pinch of sea salt. Blend together with fingertips and create a well in the center. Add eggs to the well. Mix on a low speed until the dough comes together. Switch to dough hook attachment and knead until the sides of the bowl are clean and the dough wraps around the hook, about 3-5 minutes. The dough will be soft and smooth.

On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a ball. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile make the pesto.

In a mortar and pestle or a food processor, add garlic and a pinch of sea salt. Add red pepper flakes and basil leaves. Pound or pulse the ingredients together, forming a paste. Add olive oil, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. Continue mixing together, tasting as you go. Once the pesto is perfectly seasoned, set aside.

Cut the dough into 4 pieces; slightly flatten making it easier to pass through the pasta machine. Pass pasta through the widest setting of the pasta machine. Fold in half and pass through 9 more times, dust with a little flour as needed.

Decrease the pasta machine to ½ the thickness and pass through twice.

Decrease the pasta machine setting again to the 2nd to last thinnest setting and pass through the pasta machine once. Repeat with the rest of the pasta. Lay sheets on a tea towel.

Bring a pot of water to boil and season the water with salt. Cut the sheets into square handkerchiefs.

(Now, this next step happens quickly so ready a strainer to drain the pasta by the sink, a small mug to reserve a little pasta water for the sauce, and warm a few pasta bowls!)

Toss the fresh pasta into the water and boil for just a few minutes, or until the pasta floats to the top. Scoop out about ½ cup of the pasta water. Set aside. Drain pasta.

In a large pan over medium high heat, add the basil pesto. Once the pesto heats through, add the drained pasta along with a small amount of the reserved pasta water. Toss, toss, toss! If you notice the pasta needs more sauce, add a few more drops of pasta water.

Toss into warmed pasta bowls, scatter with more parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil and basil leaves!















I love making lemon spaghetti with basil, and chimmichurri sauce for grilled meats and making my Deconstructed Salad Roll Salad with tons of herbs from the garden, ahhh summer and fresh produce and herbs, Bring it on…..

Oh lemon spaghetti with basil! That dish is my go to. When I don’t have anything else in mind for dinner, I always have the ingredients for that dish. The other two sounds lovely as well.

so many, but I am looking forward to a season of cooking & eating outdoors: peach pie with homemade peach lavender ice cream, grilled local bluefish with dill, gin & lime, rotating pestos of whatever greens and herbs my garden is ready offer, biscuits and slow smoked brisket, mezcal & watermelon-serrano swizzles, grassy discs of chèvre…!

Fresh tomatoes from our garden make any meal sweeter. My mother has an old Southern Living recipe of tomato pie that always takes me back to summer. My Nanny’s lemon meringue pie for my summer birthday is a close second.

You had me at pie…! I was introduced to tomato pie a few years ago in Alabama, and I fell in love with the savory pie! And no summer dinner is complete without lemon meringue.

My favorite dish would have to be a bursted tomatoe salad. Cherry tomatoes tossed with evoo, fresh herbs and baked til they just burst. Then toss with cubes of mozzarella cheese!

love this site and the accompanying Instagram! our favorite summer recipes usually involve the grill since it allows us to sit out in the sunshine. roasted corn mixed with chipotle pepper, crema mexica, and a litte crumbled Queso and fresh parsley is a great side. reminds me of a deconstructed Mexican street corn.

My favorite thing about summer is eating sweet, warm tomatoes picked right off the vine in my grandpa’s backyard garden. And tomato salads with a good balsamic vinegar 🙂 OH and corn! I love corn.

This sounds amazing…! Wish I had a garden to grow basil in. My favourite dish of summer is cooling and made of simple ingredients: Greek salad with greens, lucky bites (basil and other herbs), and tomatoes from my grandmama’s garden, olives, sweet onion, feta, lemon juice, salt, and olive oil. Mixed with hands. Eaten using chop sticks.

Peach Cobbler made the old fashioned way with local peaches, my husband’s grilled skirt steak, and heirloom tomatoes! Yum, yum, love summer food!

Perfection! This is the first summer where I have a yard, so I’m excited about grilling skirt steak. I always had to use a grill pan, which resulted in a smoke-filled loft!

My dad grew the best tomatoes ever. When I would come home late at night, he would wait up for me and make a tomato sandwich on white bread–sometimes Italian, sometimes Wonder, always white–with olive oil, salt and pepper. The bread would get gushy with tomato juice and oil–it was messy and divine.

My husband go crazy over pesto, I’ll definitely try your recipe!

For the summer dishes I’ll keep it simple; corn, bbq and salads!

Nothing screams summer like refreshingly cool dishes such as Caprese or watermelon salads and also zesty, citrusy ceviche!

Raw zucchini and summer squash salad with fresh mint and oregano! So fresh and delicious.

Anything on the grill… salmon, meat, veggies, pineapple… Kabobs are a favorite in our house – chicken or steak, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, strawberries or pineapple. Add a little olive oil and salt, and it’s good to go. They’re easy for each person in our family to assemble just how they like ’em for a meal everyone enjoys.

What a great looking dish – the pasta is so interesting.

My favorite summer dish is a chunky chicken salad I make with dill, red onion, red bell pepper, mayo, sour cream, and salt/pepper. It’s so simply yet very flavorful.

Some of my summer favorites are:
Strawberry shortcake with fresh strawberries
Gin and tonics 😉

I’m guessing this giveaway is not for international readers, still, one of my fave Summer recipes is shrimp al ajillo, I make it all the time. I love basil and have a basil in my kitchen that looked like it was going to kick it this Winter but has managed to pull through, thankfully. I always imagine you living in quarters like what Anne Rice has described in her “The Witching Hour” book, it’s uncanny!! After reading here your description of your neighbours garden, it’s even more implanted in my brain, that idea, lol!!

Oddly enough, I really enjoy making pasta during the summer months with a light olive oil sauce and plenty of fresh veggies from the farmer’s market. I use angel hair past, so it feels a lot lighter than the traditional pasta/tomato based sauces I used during the winter. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to boil water when it’s so hot out, but I do it! Thank you for the opportunity to win. 🙂

In my kitchen, pasta is always welcome even in 100 degree weather! Some of my favorite pasta dishes are the ones made with summer ripe tomatoes, olive oil and basil.

Summer dinner!! Fresh sweet corn with butter, sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with fresh basil, and thin slices of sugar baked ham.

I love grilled salmon salads, pasta salads and grilled vegetables like peaches and pineapple.

Rigatoni, arugula, and white bean pasta! It is tossed in olive oil, lemon juice, s&p, and parm. So good.

Ratatouille and Caprese Salad and yellow wax beans sauted in butter with garlic.

pesto is one of my very favorite summer foods! and caprese salad. and pretty much any form of fruit – I have so many memories of sitting around outside eating watermelon and corn on the cob and burgers with my family.

In the summer, I cannot get enough of salads that incorporate fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden. Many are cobbled together, but my favorite recently is a riff on a raita salad. It has cucumbers, bell peppers, and tomatoes as a base with a sauce made of Greek yogurt, basil, cilantro, jalapeño, red onion, yellow mustard seeds, and mint. It’s cool, refreshing, and has a kick! As a bonus, it pairs well with a citrusy IPA.

Carbonara is such a great dish to make during the summer because most people already have the ingredients on hand and it never takes more than 20 minutes start to finish! x Amber

I love making a pasta dish with shrimp, lemon and pepper flakes. it’s one of the few hot pasta dishes I can stand in the miserable summer heat here in the desert.

Summer is a farmer’s market vegetable plate with sliced tomatoes, shell beans, lightly steamed green beans, and maybe some squash casserole :-). Also time for peach crisp and all the fruit sorbets.

Such a perfectly elegant dish! My favorite summer dishes are always the ones where you buy the best ingredients and give them the smallest amount of effort. x Amber

My favorite summer time dish is…ice cream. I know it’s not supposed to be a meal but don’t tell that to my parents who would, from time to time, drop ice cream and toppings down on the dinner table for family “dinner.” Definitely not healthy but I can remember those family dinner nights more than anything! It’s totally a tradition that I want to keep when I have my own kids.

I love grilled eggplant slices topped with feta cheese, mint/basil and jalapenos for a little heat. Sooo refreshing!

Well, I have basil on the mind so caprese salad would be one, but then, I can’t wait til cantaloupe is in. It’s so good with lime and sliced Fresno chile peppers!

Cantaloupe was always on our summer table! We just served it in slices right next to the tomatoes.I think I may need to try to dress it up a bit this season though! x Amber

Anything I can grill is my favorite summer meal! Corn on the cob, fresh veggies, chicken, steak, etc!

I love a good grilled chicken cobb salad with fresh homemade dressing….YUM! Thanks for hosting such a LOVELY giveaway!

Anything with peaches! I love a fresh peach milkshake made with home-made vanilla ice cream. The perfect end to a hot day.

I love cut up seedless watermelon, iced tea, pasta salads and good barbecue foods like kabobs and hamburgers.

We love fresh caught walleye or pan fish, a light salad and fresh fruit. The best part is if we can sit outside and enjoy our meal and the outdoors at the same time.

This southern girl loves favorites from my childhood…BLT with home grown tomatoes, sweet corn on the cob, iced tea, and strawberry shortcake. Your posts are wonderful! Thank you!!

My favorite Summertime dish has got to be pasta with charred tomatoes and raw squash ribbons, with marinated mozarella!

I think my favorite summer dishes include; anything grilled on charcoal (especially fruit) and tossed in a light vinaigrette, watermelon mint feta salads, Ice cold gin and tonics with extra lime, and cold asian peanut noodle salads.

Lilly and her summer basil really hit my heart string. My Italian mum loved sweet Basil so much that she named our dog after the herb when I was young. Fresh Basil & wet Buffalo Mozzarella served over tomatoes drizzled with olive oil is all I want to eat in the summer!

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