I love birthdays. Each year.. year after year. I secretly count the days, covertly remind all of the upcoming event, imagine surprise-making conspiracies around me and make sly under-cover gift suggestions to all around. There.. its out in the open. (While we are at it, I will also unburden myself about my cheesy romance fixation…I enjoy Rom-coms and even read Mills and Boons. Yes, with all my feminist leanings and urban cynic standing, I absolutely enjoy them… my heart thumps, I cry and I smile at all the right places too. There you are, I have said it now. Judge me if you will ).
Anyways, confessions over, knowing my childish delight at all things birthday like, a day before my Birthday, Atul declared that I would be granted 3 days to feel the birthday girl this year. (He suggested one but I wiggled in another one. I can be good at bargaining when I want to..see?). So when asked what I would want to do on the 6th, I quickly opted for a drive out of the city. With visions of getting drenched in the waterfalls, surrounded by lush green of the hills outside Mumbai and fresh cool air minus the abundance of Mumbai’s CO2, dancing in my mind, I decided that all we needed to pack was something to snack on when we wanted. Only a dish as green, as fresh, as delightful on the palette and easy on the soul would do. So I settled on one of my old favourites…Classic genoise pasta with a lovely green pesto, crunchy green beans and baby potatoes. A cinch to make and so so delicious to boot.
Pasta rustled up, greedy hands swatted away from the dabba, we finally managed to haul our lazy but eager asses out of the house. What ensued as we left home though was that the evil traffic of Andheri engulfed us, unavoidable work meeting cropped up out of the ether and our window of opportunity shortened. Not ones to give up that easily, we decided to a make a picnic of it anyways.. at Powai our old home..where I first met Mumbai and Atul and where we started life together. Right across the house that we first lived in as we got married… at the very beautiful Powai lake.
It turned out to be a great idea…walking on the promenade in the rain,
staring at the lovely lake as it changed colours and hues
Chancing upcon some young boys as they fished with make shift rods
a fisherman going about his daily work in his lovely workplace
and a lil kitty stalking around her kingdom
A brilliant beginning to the Birthday with the added bonus of lingering anticipation…of the hills that beckon.
- Garlic - ⅔ cloves
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - half cup
- Pine Nuts (chilgoze) - 3 Tbsp
- Freshly grated parmesan - half cup (blasphemy though this maybe, I find that the Amul Gouda is a very delicious alternative)
- Green beans - 200 gms, cut into 3 inch long pieces
- Peeled Baby Potatoes - about 10
- To make the delicious pesto, blitz up the basil leaves with the garlic, pine nuts and enough oil to be able to grind. I prefer a chopper for this but a mixer jar works as well as long as you dont grind the paste too fine. Note that too much of the oil at this stage may make the pesto bitter so be conservative. Once the leaves are ground, add the oil, the cheese and mix. Season to taste.
- Boil plenty of water with salt and cook the beans till the colour brightens. Remove and immediately plunge in cold water to prevent over cooking. The beans should be bright green and crunchy.
- Add the potatoes to the water and remove once tender. Halve and reserve.
- Boil the pasta till al-dente and reserve about half cup of the water.
- Toss pasta, pesto, beans and potatoes together adding as much of the reserved water as is needed to keep the pasta moist but not liquidy (I know thats not a word but hello..it does the job right?). Season as required.
Make Ahead – you can make the pesto and keep it for a bout a week or so which makes this a cinch to make. This pesto is also really really good on sandwiches or in scrambled eggs. Do experiment.