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Our AC is out. It’s been out for over a week now. Technically, the unit will still run, it just won’t do anything and sounds like death warmed over. So we’ve been trying to make meals that don’t overheat our kitchen, and Alabama has been giving us wonderful beginning-of-fall weather. Our leaves are even starting to change! We’ve slept with our windows open since all this trouble began, and it’s been surprisingly nice.

Out of these circumstances has come Lemon-Basil Casarecce Pasta with Pistachios. This recipe is originally from Cooking Light magazine, but we made some changes to fit our needs (mainly what we had on hand). It was everything we needed it to be on this warm Alabama night: light, quick and easy, and it dirtied hardly any dishes. I urge you to add it to your dinner list. We’re thinking of pairing it with lightly seasoned sauteed tilapia.


  •  8 oz. uncooked casarecce (twisted pasta; it comes in 16-oz. boxes, so you’ll get two meals from one box)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 lb. haricots verts (my store was out of fresh haricots verts, so I used a big handful from a frozen bag. I highly suggest you use haricots verts, which are petite, not bulky. If you can’t find them, use the thinnest green beans you can.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped shelled, roasted pistachios
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. grated lemon rind, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. minced shallots (optional; we omitted for B’s allergies, and it was still great)
  • 2 Tbsp. Champagne vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 ounce shaved fresh Parmesan cheese (about 1/3 cup)


  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, adding the haricots verts during the final 2 minutes of cooking. Drain and rinse mixture under cold water; drain well.
  2. Place the pasta mixture, pistachios, 1 Tbsp. basil, and 1 Tbsp. lemon rind in a large bowl; toss gently to combine.
  3. Whisk together remaining 1 Tbsp. basil, 1 Tbsp. lemon rind, shallots, and next 6 ingredients (through red pepper). Gradually add olive oil, whisking constantly until emulsified. Drizzle over pasta mixture, and toss gently to coat. Top each serving with Parmesan cheese.