An Italian-Style Feast

Mid-summer farmers’ market ingredients make cooking delicious meals easy. Last Sunday I took advantage of all of my great market buys to put together a very quick, healthy Italian style dinner.

I started with my basil walnut pesto which, in my humble opinion, is some of the best pesto I have ever had. I can’t even be around it because I want to eat the entire bowl, all by itself. I like using walnuts because they seem richer and more buttery to me and also because they are a lot cheaper than pine nuts.

basil and parmesan

This pesto included:

2 cups basil, torn into pieces

around 1/4 cup Parmigiano cheese

2 handfuls chopped walnuts

3 large cloves garlic

olive oil, enough to make the pesto into a nice smooth paste

I started by adding the walnuts, garlic, and cheese to the food processer. I whirled those items around until they were completely blended together. Then I slowly added basil and oil, a handful of basil, a drizzle of oil, process, and repeat until all of the basil has been used and all of the ingredients are combined. It should look like this.

basil walnut pesto  

If you prefer thinner pesto, stream in more oil as you are processing the mixture.

basil walnut pesto

While I was making the pesto, I was boiling several cups of chopped red potatoes until fully cooked. In the last 2 minutes of cooking, I added in chunks of summer squash so they cooked but were not mushy.

I then tossed the hot potatoes and squash with about 1/4 cup of pesto until everything was coated. I left this salad to cool down to room temperature while I prepped the main course.

pesto potato salad

For my cod with tomatoes, I chopped two large tomatoes and sprinkled the pieces over two fresh cod fillets. To that I added salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and a few spoons of olive oil and let them cook through. These fillets cooked quickly which was nice because the tomatoes stayed intact and didn’t get too liquid-y.

cod and tomatoes


The potato and squash salad was a perfect compliment to the light fish. I paired this dinner with a summery Belle Vallee Pinot Gris and ate it out on the deck to enjoy a hot summer evening.

Italian inspired feast

While it is a beautiful summer weekend, I have definitely noticed it getting darker earlier and am seeing lots of back to school stuff. I am going to try to make the most of the rest of the summer and to enjoy every minute. Here are some of my “Savor Summer” plans:

  • A bachelorette party on a boat. . . today!
  • Our 4th wedding anniversary dinner at Craigie on Main Wednesday
  • Newport Winefest next weekend
  • An after work run with one of my oldest friends
  • A North End blogger event
  • The Copley Farmers’ Market every Tuesday and Friday
  • Sitting out on my deck as often as possible
  • Tax free weekend wine tasting at The Urban Grape
  • Walks around Castle Island
  • Kayaking on the Charles

What are your “Savor Summer” plans?

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Tags: cod, Food, food and wine pairing, Italian recipe, pesto, potato salad, recipe, tomatoes

  1. Katie’s avatar

    I LOVE pesto too! Haven’t made walnut pesto, I’m more of a traditional pine nut kinda girl but this might make me reconsider….beautiful presentation!


  2. Daisy’s avatar

    My savor summer (love that) plans definitely include a few more trips to the Cape! One next weekend for crabbing (august is crab season!) and one on Labor Day weekend at my friends beach house. hmm a North End blogger event just my be on my list too! yay see ya monday.


  3. Heather’s avatar

    I love the idea of putting pesto on potatoes – I bet it would make a great potato salad.

    I always make my own pesto because I am allergic to nuts – it is so inexpensive to make and tastes great.

    I hope to enjoy some fresh steamed clams somewhere with a waterview to savor my summer…


  4. City Share’s avatar

    I love walnut pesto too. I have never tried it on sqash before – great idea! I am always looking for new way to prepare all the squash I get through my CSA. Thanks.


  5. Jenn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)’s avatar

    I like that potato + squash salad! That looks delicious.

    My savor summer plan is enjoying the extended daylight hours until fall arrives. :)



  6. Magic of Spice’s avatar

    Everything looks wonderful…great way to savor the freshness of summer :)


  7. Megan’s avatar

    That squash and potato salad looks awesome! I like using walnuts in pesto sometimes too. My savor summer plans are first and foremost a long weekend getaway to the Cape at the end of August! And I’ll see you at the North End blogger event!


  8. Kristy’s avatar

    Everything looks delicious! I’ve never put walnuts in my pesto, must try that! My savor summer plan is to soak up the last bit of summer with my girls at the pool. I love walking castle island too, so relaxing!! :)


  9. Elina’s avatar

    I definitely noticed it’s getting darker earlier now. I hate that!! My “savor the summer” plan is to continue cooking with mostly farmers market produce. I always miss it when it closes so I like taking advantage of it while I can. Maybe we’ll run into each other on some Tuesday or Friday again :)


  10. Anne @ Food Loving Polar Bear’s avatar

    Your savor summer plans sound awesome :)


  11. ashleigh’s avatar

    Meghan, that feast looks positively delicious!!

    Your savor the summer plans sound like a lot of fun too. I need to go kayaking on the Charles… I bought a coupon last year that I am sure is expiring any day now! I also love walking around Castle Island, it’s one of my favorite Boston spots.

    My plans are pretty much just two more weekends in Maine, one weekend in the Cape, and a sunset cruise!


  12. Michelle’s avatar

    This looks like a perfect summer feast! I’m a huge fan of making pesto too. I only started doing it a few years ago and I don’t know why it took me so long – its so easy and tastes way better when it is fresh! I just got back from MV so I’m definitely savoring summer!


  13. Belinda @zomppa’s avatar

    I would gladly join in this feast


  14. Carol Egbert’s avatar

    Pesto + Tomatoes + Potatoes = Summer dinners. Thanks!


  15. RavieNomNoms’s avatar

    Yum! This is something that I would really enjoy..thanks for sharing!


  16. Corinne’s avatar

    The pesto looks delicious! I love how the versatility. On potatoes, in pasta salad (how I used mine this weekend), on salmon, chicken or scallops, on a sandwich, combined to make pesto mayo…oo the possibilities are endless. Love the savor summer list! I have a beach wedding to attend this weekend and I am uber excited. Enjoy the blogger meet up tonight!


  17. Jessica’s avatar

    Beautiful post! I cannot wait to make this pesto-


  18. Claudia’s avatar

    I have had a serious love affair with walnut pesto for decades. It never disappoints. All looks mouth-watering and you have a grand food itinerary ahead of you!


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