Pesto belongs in the pantheon of flexible recipes. Sure, the classic combination is basil, garlic, Parmesan, pine nuts and olive oil, but I’ve made it with all manner of nuts, hard cheeses and leafy herbs (or other greens) and been perfectly happy.

This is my way of saying: Here is another recipe I’ve tried to design for maximum adaptability and, therefore, maximum utility in this time of maximum anxiety. This simple, bright and pretty pasta dish from the great Yotam Ottolenghi is already a little deconstructed, with the cheese (pecorino) and nuts (pistachios) going in the final dish rather than in the pesto, and you could switch those up at will.

The feel-free-to-substitute nature goes beyond the pesto. Ottolenghi specified thinly sliced snow peas, but guess what we could find in stores? Snap peas. I’ve also made successful versions with asparagus, and I’m confident broccoli would be a success.

By the way, if you’ve ever boiled a pot of water for pasta and thought, “What else can I throw in there?” this recipe is for you. You use that water to cook the vegetables, too, drain them both together, and toss with your anything-goes pesto, pecorino, pistachios and a little lemon zest for zing. No lemon? A tiny splash of vinegar would get you there.

You can shift as many of those elements as you like the next time you make it. (And trust me: You will want there to be a next time.)

— Adapted from “Ottolenghi Simple” by Yotam Ottolenghi

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