Wednesday, July 9, 2008

improv pesto

I love pesto in the middle of summer when I can use the herbs growing right on my porch. This is a variation on a more traditional pesto, built on the idea of using my Thai basil and flat-leaf parsley as principle ingredients and the Italian basil as background. It makes about 3/4 cup - 1 cup, but can easily be doubled. And it freezes nicely in ice cube trays if you have extra. I've also added a few serving variations below...

4-5 cloves garlic (to taste, I do love garlic)

1/4 cup of Italian basil leaves

1/2 cup of flat leaf parsley

1/2 cup of Thai basil

1/3 cup of walnuts

Olive oil

Pecorino or Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

I barely touched the garlic and herbs and just dropped it all in the food processor to find the right chunkiness. Then I added some olive oil and blended it more. How much olive oil is a matter of taste, and desired smoothness. I added just a bit of cheese because I wanted to shave the pecorino on top at the end. Again, this is a personal preference. Adding more cheese makes it creamier.

Whatever pasta is fine; I like angel hair because it seems to soak up everything nicely. I topped it with pecorino and salt + pepper....

Now, on the second day, with the leftover pesto... I hit on my favorite. After boiling the pasta and thowing it back in the pan with the pesto, I added a handful of fresh spinach leaves. They wilted nicely while I chopped a handful of grape tomatoes and more fresh parsley. To serve, I pulled out a portion of the pesto and lovely spinach and then topped it with chopped raw tomatoes, parsley, and a little salt. Because I didn't add too much oil to begin with, I touched off the top with a drop of olive oil. This version adds more veggies and eliminates the cheese, but the other flavors work really well together. Enjoy playing...

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