Fried Pesto Pasta

Jason French, Ned Ludd

French loves backpacking, but admits that the culinary benefits of car camping far outweigh the pleasures of being 30 miles from the nearest road—especially with two children.

At Home

Place basil, garlic, nuts, chile flakes, and salt in food processor. Pulse several times to incorporate ingredients. Add oil slowly, while machine is running. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in lidded container and store in a cooler. Cook pasta, cool, toss with oil, and also store in cooler.

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Image: Jake Stangel

Jason French preparing to chop up the arugula for his pasta.

At the Campground

In a heavy-bottomed pan on a camp stove, add oil. When oil is hot, add pasta, fry until crisp, and season with salt. Remove from pan, place in a separate bowl, and add pesto. Add beans and greens and stir. Add salt and lemon according to taste.

Wipe pan clean and return to heat. Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese in a single layer in the pan and heat until crisp. Remove and repeat with remaining cheese. Divide pasta onto four plates. Top each portion with fried cheese. Serve with a good-quality boxed wine.

Other Camp Essentials

Lemon, salt, and olive oil (preferably Katz’s from California): “My holy trinity of ingredients,” French says.