I am turning a new leaf.
No literally, I am.
Mint is a whole new leaf to me.
Ok, technically it is an herb. But really, it looks like a pretty green leaf and honestly I do not like to get technical around here anyway.
I know that a lot people love mint.
I was never one of those people. Until now, of course.
Growing up, my Mimi and Papa (Dad’s mom and dad) belonged to this country club, Westwood. If you happen to live in Ohio along Lake Erie in Bay Village, Rocky River, Lakewood or really anywhere along the west side of Cleveland, than you probably know what I am talking about. It’s a typical country club with a golf course, tennis courts, pool, snack bar, club house and formal dinning area.
This is all great if your family is country club suitable.
Mine is most definitely not.
Like in any way shape or form.
My family, and by family I mean my immediate family, two parents, six siblings and me.
Yeah, the nine of us? We’re the hillbillies. Seriously not even exaggerating.
We’re the trouble makers, the rule breakers, the always late ones, the ones that show up in jeans to a coat and tie event, the loud ones (ahem, Creighton), the improper eaters. Basically, the embarrassing ones.
That’s my family. Want to come meet us? We’re pretty fun!
Westwood always had those chocolate covered mint candies lying around in little bowls. Like they were everywhere. It was pure torture. Every time I would see a bowl I’d grab one, bite in and be so disappointed. Then I’d proceed to put my bitten candy back in the bowl…..
Come on, I would not do that. Or maybe, I would. No I wouldn’t. Okay, wait I probably would if they were a box of candies that were lying around my house. Yeah, then it’s fair game.
So because of those stupid candies I grew up thinking I hated mint, when in reality I think I just did not like those candies. Although, I do remember stealing a few spoonfuls of my little bro’s mint chocolate chip ice cream straight from the freezer. That stuff was pretty good, but I am positive the only reason I did that was because that was my only option at the time. If given the choice between vanilla ice cream and mint chocolate chip I would always go vanilla.
Ah man, now I am thinking about that new batch of ice cream in the freezer. The one I haven’t posted yet. Can’t wait to share that one with you, mmmm.
Anyway, here is the deal, I saw some pretty mint in the store.
Then for some reason I had the urge to buy the pretty mint. Then I made some pesto with pistachios and the said mint and fell madly and deeply in love. Not gonna lie, the manchego cheese probably helped a whole lot. Then I fried some zucchini, but not really. I crisped it in a skillet, cause you all know I hate frying.
Next I put it all together and called it a meal.
And now, I love mint. Especially mint with manchego cheese and pistachios. So darn good. Oh and obviously the fried zucchini. It is crispy, cheesy and so sticking good.
Fried Zucchini and Mint Pistachio Pesto Pappardelle Pasta
Serving Size: 4-6
- Fried Zucchini
- 2 zucchinis, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Mint Pesto Pasta
- 1 pound dried pappardelle (or other long cut pasta)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh mint
- 1/2 cup parsley (may sub spinach)
- 1/4 toasted pistachios (pecan or pine nuts work too)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup grated manchego cheese, plus more for topping
- 2 cloves garlic
- zest of 1/2 a lemon
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Make the pesto. In a food processor, combine the parsley, mint, garlic and pistachios and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, parmesan and manchego cheese. Process a few times more. Then with the food processor running stream in the olive oil and process to a puree. Season the pesto generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pappardelle until al dente. Reserve a cup or so of the cooking water and then drain the pasta.
While the pasta cooks "fry" the zucchini. In a bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk. In another bowl, whisk together the panko, flour, parmesan, salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Dip each zucchini slice in the egg mixture to coat, then dredge through the breadcrumbs, pressing gently to adhere. Place in the skillet and cook until golden. This took me about 3 to 4 minutes per side. When finished, remove the slices and let drain on a paper towel.
Add the pasta to a large serving bowl, or add it back to the large pot you boiled it in. Add the pesto and the a few tablespoons of the reserved water and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Add the fried zucchini and toss or serve the pasta and top each plate with the fried zucchini. Serve immediately and top with fresh grated machego cheese and a zest of lemon.
Think you’ll love it too.