This week, my friends and I took a cooking class with New York chef and caterer Peter Yurasits. Peter is an amazing chef, known for using local and organic produce and products in his cooking. Our class included basil and watercress from his very own garden, as well as other fresh and delicious ingredients.
The Provençal themed menu was sublime. We started with seared slices of foie gras with an endive salad, then moved on to a pappardelle with chunky basil pesto and fresh watercress (recipe below!), roasted lamb chops with a creamy potato gratin, and finished with Tarte Tatin, a yummy caramelized apple tart. We paired our sumptuous food with wines from Provence, and savored every minute of our evening all together.
Now that farmer’s and produce markets are starting to offer locally grown foods of the season, introducing all of you to Peter’s pasta dish is a great idea. Not only will it give you a chance to try a delicious dish with the freshest ingredients, but the ingredients themselves carry great nutritional benefits. Organic garlic is crushed with basil leaves, sea salt and olive oil. Once the pasta is cooked al dente, the pesto is tossed with the pasta, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and a generous handful of fresh watercress leaves. Packed with vitamins, watercress is an excellent source of B1, B2, B6, C and E. It is also an excellent source of manganese for bone health and liver support, and carotenes for visual health. It is a good source of calcium and fiber as well.
This pasta is excellent as a main course, appetizer or side dish with your favorite protein. Thank you, Peter, for the wonderful cooking class, and for introducing all of us to this delicious, healing dish……
Pasta with Chunky Basil Pesto and Watercress
1 lb. pappardelle pasta
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
2-3 cups fresh watercress
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Using a mortar and pestle, crush garlic, salt, fresh basil leaves into a chunky paste. Add olive oil and mix well to combine flavors.
Prepare pasta according to package directions. When pasta is al dente, drain and toss with butter, then add the pesto. Fold in the parmesan cheese and watercress. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.