Thursday, June 29, 2006


On Tuesday, I stopped by our local farmer's market and scored this lovely bunch of basil for a mere $2.

Instantly, I thought of making pesto. Traditionally, I'm a red sauce kind of girl. But my dear college friend M (recipient of the rhubarb shortbread) worked her magic on me in college and opened my eyes to the delight that is a tangy pesto sauce. M. and I spent a few days on the Ligurian coast during our honeymoon in the summer of 2004, and there I got to taste pesto sauces to my heart's content. Pesto originally hails from the Ligurian part of Italy, and each restaurant had their own recipe but they were all delicious! And, since our wedding anniversary is quickly approaching, I thought this bunch of basil would be perfect for trying a new pesto recipe.

Adapted from Bow-Tie Pasta with Pesto recipe
The American Test Kitchen Cookbook

1/4 cup pine nuts
3 medium cloves of garlic, threaded on a skewer
2 cups packed basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (optional, I omitted)
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
1 pound pasta (bow-ties, linguine, fusilli etc)

1. Toast nuts in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently, until nuts are just golden and fragrant (4-5 minutes).
2. Meanwhile bring 4 quarts of water to boil in large pot. Lower skewered garlic into water, and boil for 45 seconds. Run garlic under cold water. Remove from skewer, peel and mince. [I simply boiled water in a pyrex measuring cup in the microwave and boiled the garlic in that, since I wasn't cooking an entire pound of pasta.]
3. Place basil and parsley (if using) in a heavy-duty sealable plastic bag. Pound with meat pounder or roll with rolling pin until all leaves are bruised (I used the rolling pin method).
4. Place nuts, garlic, basil, oil and 1/2 tsp salt in workbowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as neccessary. Transfer mixture to small bowl. Add cheese and adjust salt. (Surface of pesto can be covered with sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to five days.

I just cooked a little pasta for me, since M. was working late. I served my fusilli with pesto along side the asparagus from our CSA share, and wilted swiss chard greens. I simply washed and chopped the chard, cooking with a touch of cooking spray, half a lemon and salt and pepper. The aspargus was glazed with lemon juice and a touch of basalmic vinegar, as well as a dash of salt and pepper. With a little homemade whole wheat garlic bread and a glass of wine, it made for a tasty and enjoyable meal.

After dinner I browsed through The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook as it is one I haven't looked at as often as I should. While not vegetarian, there are plenty of vegetarian options I should find occasions to try. Helios and I thought the thin crust pizza looked quite promising....

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Cris said...
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Cris said...

So glad I found your blog!!! I have a veggie garden and now I know what varieties I can do with my harvest. I would have bartered with you (my veggies vs your kitchen wit) if we were closer than 3,000 miles away :-)

helios said...


I'd definitely be up for the exchange. I'm lacking the garden as of yet, but have certainly developed other sources to keep my veggie kitchen up and running. :)

crystal said...

What a lovely dinner...and I love how Helios "helps" you read. Why do all kitties like books and papers so much? :)

helios said...

Thanks Crystal,

It was a lovely dinner. To be followed by a similar one tonight! :) Our kitty definitely loves papers and books, one need only leave a piece of paper on the couch to instantly draw a cat. Quite odd really...