Food on Fridays: Pioneer Woman’s Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce (and a brief backyard diversion)

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For the Food on Fridays carnival, any post remotely related to food is welcome—though we love to try new dishes, your post doesn’t have to be a recipe. We’re pretty relaxed over here, and stories and photos are as welcome as menus and recipes.When your Food on Fridays contribution is ready, just grab the broccoli button (the big one above or smaller option at the bottom) to paste at the top of your post. It ties us together visually.Then fill in the boxes of Simply Linked to join the fun!

Food on Fridays with Ann

On Tuesday, Aimee announced on Facebook that she would be having Pioneer Woman’s Pasta with Pesto Cream Sauce for dinner.I realized I had some fresh basil growing in the garden and decided to make it myself.Whoa. Does that look delicious, or like something from a science fiction film from the 1970s?Anyway, as I headed out to the garden to harvest the basil, one of my daughters was cruising the yard to clear it of doggie-doo so that the Belgian Wonder could mow. I had my kitchen scissors and a plastic cup in my hand to gather the basil.My daughter leaned down and gasped. “Mom! A baby bunny!”In the grass, frozen, pretending to be nothing more than a leaf or dandelion fluff, crouched this little bunny.We had to save the bunny from this guy.He’s a really good dog, but you know, bunnies seem an awful lot like squeaky toys.So we worked together to save the bunny from his giant jaws…not to mention the spinning lawnmower blades.Fortunately, a friend of mine knew what to do. I took the bunny to her house next door, and she fixed him up in a little cage with fistfuls of sweet clover to munch on after he settled down.Meanwhile, my husband and other daughters discovered the tiny nest from which this bunny had escaped. In the nest, they found that the bunny had four siblings.The kids brought over the remaining bunnies to my neighbor so that all five could stay together, away from our dog’s domain. I chatted with my neighbor for quite a while after the girls headed home; so long, in fact, that the sun sank behind my roof line.Oh, wait. The unplanned bunny rescue mission threw me off track. The pasta! The pesto! The basil!The sun was sinking, but I still had time. I thanked my neighbor, ran home to clip a bouquet of basil and raced inside to prepare the pesto. Good thing it was super easy and super fast.Pioneer Woman said to just dump it all in the food processor, which I did: basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Whirrrrrrr.Meanwhile, in a pan (I used a skillet), heat a blob of butter and some cream (I used half & half). Add the pesto.Then I just stuck the spaghetti in the sauce and mixed it up. Pioneer Woman used a cute curly pasta, but I just used what I had in the pantry.Then dice a fresh tomato and mix in.The flavors and texture of this dish rival that of any restaurant’s specialty. To me, this was like a main course from The Cheesecake Factory or Maggiano’s. I couldn’t get enough.To respect Ree’s intellectual copyright, I’ll just send you over to get the recipe from her website, Pioneer Woman. You can get the recipe by following her step-by-step tutorial featuring her luscious photography and charming commentary, or by accessing her printable version.The pasta with pesto cream sauce was a feast, and I could linger on it all day and all night.But I know what you really want to feast your eyes on. Let me leave you with this:

Fistful of basil, bunny and dog photos by S. Kroeker. All the rest by Ann Kroeker.

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  • Comments

    1. Wow that looks yummy. We grew basil in the summer but by the time I got a food processor the basil was past its best … Maybe next summer …
      What a cute bunny! Thats the kind of adventure my girls would like … We found a quail in our garden a few months back, but I think we scared it off! I’ve just started reading Not So Fast again (for the 3rd time?) and yes I need to slow down and really LOOK around me in the backyard and out and about, life is calming down a little for me so it’s becoming more possible …

      • annkroeker says:

        Pioneer Woman talked about freezing the basil in ice cubes or something. Maybe you can save some next growing season to use throughout the year?

        I got a food processor for Mother’s Day this year–it’s what you see in the photos above. I have only had a microprocessor in the past, and it broke. So this is not full-sized, but much larger. I love it.

        I’m so glad to have summer schedules that allow for bunny rescues–and I hope your slower, calmer life will allow for moments of wonder, admiring a quail or other beautiful surprises! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed Not So Fast!

    2. What a charming back yard adventure. I am so happy you rescued the bunny and his siblings from the jaws of your good dog. I am fear our “good” dogs would also think it to be a squeeze toy. I will amble over to Pioneer Woman for this delightful recipe. Yours looks scrumptious!

      • annkroeker says:

        We came in from our back yard diversion and one of the kids remarked how late we were eating. My husband said, “Yes, but what a nice summer activity–mowing the lawn and saving bunnies before eating food fixed from stuff in the garden. I think it’s fine. And you can sleep in tomorrow.”

        Nice perspective.

    3. What a seriously gorgeous bunny! I’m so glad you rescued him, and his siblings. And your version of the Pioneer Woman’s pesto looks absolutely mouthwatering. Thank you so much for hosting, and have a lovely weekend!

      • annkroeker says:

        I love that last picture that my daughter snapped.

        Thanks for admiring my pasta feast. It really was delicious. :)

    4. Although pesto has never really appealed to me (and I don’t think I’ve actually tried it, maybe it’s just all that green looking spaghetti), this looks good. Perhaps it’s the alfredo with it, and the pesto will keep the alfredo from being too heavy.

      The bunny photos are wonderful! I can hardly wait until my grandsons wake up this morning to show them the pictures.

    5. What a sweet story, so glad you saved the bunnies, which happen to be impossibly cute. And also that pasta, can you save double yum!!!! I just love basil and I am so jealous of your bounty, my basil plant died recently.

      • annkroeker says:

        I’ve begun to wonder if basil might be my downfall just as Rapunzel was Rapunzel’s mom’s? I love it so very much, I’d be willing to send my husband off to the witch’s garden to snatch me some!

        (Maybe you can find a friend with basil to share??) :)

    6. Ann,
      That photograph of the basil leaves is fine art. Thank you!

      And your dog looks like my mom’s beloved Schatzi.

      Bunny rescue: good work! Our labrador, JD, has “squeaky toyed” two or three of our neighbor Sue’s chickens to death when they’ve wandered into our yard. Sue is gracious, but it’s no fun to report another murderous binge to a beloved neighbor.

      All that, and still time to make the delicious pesto? Sounds like God’s economy to me.

      • annkroeker says:

        You are too kind, Sheila! I thought it turned out kinds of weird, making it gigantic and messing around with the colors. It was dark enough, around dusk, when we snapped the picture, so I had to lighten it and mess with the colors. It didn’t turn out quite right, but at least it was in focus.

        I don’t know if the picture can show it, but our dog is gigantic. Was Schatzi?

        JD is just being a dog, right? Even my bunny-rescuing neighbor understands the instinct being perfectly normal.

        As for the pesto–it was definitely a very late meal. I just pretend I’m European. It seems like they don’t even think about serving dinner until 8 or 9 o’clock at night and sometimes don’t finish until 11. I don’t know how any of those trim Europeans gets up in the morning for work…or avoids gaining weight. :)

    7. Heya Ann, I just discovered The Pioneer Woman last weekend when I saw her book at the library. Gobbled it in two sittings. Good stuff.

      As a vegan, I’ll stick to my non-dairy pesto delight. Yay on saving the bunnies. Was the momma missing?

      Anyway, I need to find me some basil.

      Blessings.

      • annkroeker says:

        She’s a stitch, that Pioneer Woman Ree. Glad you discovered her. I think you’ll enjoy her humor.

        Glad you have a pesto version you can enjoy.

        We haven’t seen the momma yet. My neighbor felt bad that she may think they’ve come up missing, but it’s better that the bunnies live and the momma’s left confused than that she show up in our yard and face any of the possible alternatives.

    8. Can I just come over and eat with you? I totally lose my impetus to cook when it’s over 90 dgrees (and it’s over 90 for like, four months–at least).

      • annkroeker says:

        Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Just head over…what will it take you? Thirteen or fourteen hours? I’ll have a big bowl of pasta waiting for you. :)

        I’d better clean the house up a bit while I’m waiting….

    9. My mouth is watering Ann. I can hardly wait to get the recipe. I love the story about the bunnies. Glad you found them before your hungry dog. We rescued a desert tortoise from the mouth of our Chip, the Wonder Dog.
      Have a blessed week.
      Janis

    10. What a fun day you must have had – thanks for sharing it with us!

    11. It looks and sounds delicious Ann.
      The sweet, little bunny is adorable, but I am concerned about the Mama Bunny. Did she show up in search of her babies?
      Have a blessed weekend Ann.

    12. We love bunnies and basil in my family too. What a lovely combination of thoughts and photos.

    13. Hi Ann,
      Thanks for dropping by, and I forgot to mention those bunnies are so cute and you have a lovely space.

    14. What a great story! And the photos! And the food! And the BUNNY! I can’t believe you were actually able to capture it… What a thrill that must have been for the kids.

      The dish, and well, the whole day looks fantastic.

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