SARA KATE GILLINGHAM-RYAN’S “Good Food to Share,” invites us into a place where lucky guests get to start meals with finger food like green beans in garlickly toasted-almond and parsley pesto, broccoli spears roasted in olive oil and red pepper flakes, maple-glazed sweet potato wedges, or the most heavenly looking deviled eggs. It’s also a place where the host gets to have a good time. I’d be happy at such a party—and plan to cook from The Kitchn [dot] com founder’s latest cookbook even when I’m a party of one. Want to win a copy and feast along on Sara Kate’s beautiful, seasonal food that matches any occasion?
Sometimes entertaining–or even cooking a family meal–stresses the “ta-da” over the togetherness at the expense of the cook’s mental health. Sara Kate, whom I have never seen without her brilliant smile on full display, says that’s just not the point.
“When I first started to work on this book, knowing it was in the entertaining category, I thought long and hard about what entertaining meant,” Sara Kate wrote recently on her blog. “In my mind, entertaining as a word applied to my work is a bit of a silly notion; because this thing we do with food feels so much more deep than other forms of entertainment in our culture. The act of cooking is really about feeding the bellies and souls of the people we love, and I take it very seriously.”
“Good Food to Share: Recipes for Entertaining With Family and Friends” will nourish on every level through all the courses from drinks to dessert (even salad dressings!). And not one photo or recipe made me feel pressured (just hungry).
With a bounty of herbs and green beans at the moment, I selected two twists on pestos that sounded timely to showcase below. I can’t wait for fall crops to mature to try a Roasted Squash Salad With Dates and Spicy Pecans, or Winter Greens With Roasted Pears and Pecorino, among many other temptations—no matter if any “company” is coming for dinner at all.
Haricots Verts With Almond Pesto
(Sara Kate is serving this in top photo)
- Sea salt
- ½ lb. haricots verts or slender green beans, trimmed
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Drop in the beans all at once and cook for 3 minutes. Drain immediately and plunge the beans into ice water. Set aside.
In a food processor of blender, combine the garlic, parsley, and ½ teaspoon salt and process until the parsley is finely chopped. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and process until a smooth puree forms. Add the almonds and pulse until finely chopped and the pesto is a uniform coarse puree.
Drain the beans and pat dry. Put them in a large bowl, add the pesto, and toss to coat evenly. Arrange on a serving platter or in a bowl and serve at room temperature.
Spaghetti With 5-Herb Pesto
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 Tbsp. lightly packed fresh tarragon leaves
- 2 Tbsp. lightly packed fresh sage leaves
- ½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. spaghetti
- ½ cup lightly packed celery leaves
Bring a large pot three-fourths full of lightly salted water to a boil.
Finely chop the basil, tarragon, parsley and sage and place in a bowl. Sprinkle in the lemon juice and stir to coat the herbs.
Combine the garlic, Parmesan and pine nuts in a blender or food processor. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and process until the mixture is creamy and blended. Pour the oil mixture into the bowl with the herbs and stir to combine.
Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Toss with the pesto, a pinch or two of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Top with the celery leaves and serve right away.
More From Sara Kate
Giveaway: How to Enter to Win 1 of 2 Copies
IBOUGHT TWO COPIES OF “Good Food to Share: Recipes for Entertaining With Family and Friends” to share with you. All you have to do to enter the random drawing is tell us a go-to dish that you like to share with others, one that you’re really comfortable making.
I love to do starter platters of homemade roasted pepper slices on bits of oiled toast sprinkled with Parmesan, or pizzas slathered with basil pesto and red sauce and cheese (pizza-making is included in “Good Food to Share,” by the way).
Just want to enter and skip the confessions? Simply type “Count me in” or some such in the comments, and I will.
Two winners will be chosen at random after entries close at midnight Tuesday, August 23, using the tool at random [dot] org. Good luck to all!
All photos by Ray Kachatorian, from “Good Food to Share;” recipes also from “Good Food to Share,” by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, copyright Weldon Owen, Inc. and Williams-Sonoma, Inc.