Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pesto and Goat Cheese Pasta and Taters

I'm even more eager than before to sell our condo and get into a home, since our last trip to my in-laws home. As if the smallish kitchen wasn't motive enough, my "MIL," Wilma, had a bountiful crop of fresh herbs growin' like crazy in her backyard. She grows a lot of them in pots, so this would technically be possible for us, since we have a large balcony. However, it faces north, so while this is pleasant because the sun is never direct, it isn't great for growing summer herbs, since the sun is never direct. For now, I'll just have to settle for hacking into her large basil and tomato supply, and trucking them home with me.

Pesto is so simple to make with a food processor, and you can use lots of different things as your "base" -- such as artichoke hearts, spinach, or in this case, basil. Layer up your washed herbs, begin with just a drizzle of olive oil, and about a quarter cup of toasted pignolis (I reserve another quarter cup for later.) Add about three cloves garlic, a good shake of parmesan or romano, salt and pepper, a small shake of red pepper flakes, put the top on and give it a few pulses. Then, while whirring continuously, drizzle up to a half cup more extra-virgin olive oil through the opening. I don't measure, I just whir until it looks like the consistency I want. Then I add the juice of one lemon. Lastly, I add the remaining pignolis (pine nuts) and pulse a couple of times (I do this because I want some crunch, and I don't want all the pine nuts completely pulverized.)

Have you ever combined pasta and potatoes? You can, you know. I heated my leftover potatoes and squash, and in a separate pot I boiled whole-wheat pasta. Then I tossed in frozen artichoke hearts and green beans at the last moment, just until they thawed and heated. Then I strained the whole pot, and added the potatoes and squash, and the pesto. I also crumbled in some goat cheese, and added diced tomatoes to the top.

The dish was so rich and yet fresh all at the same time. The buttery cinnamon and coriander seasoning I had used lightly on the potatoes gave the dish such a depth and additional dimension, though I think just using plain boiled potatoes would have been very tasty, too. As another note, you can use toasted walnut pieces if you can't find pignolis.

The leftovers of this dish reheated very nicely, though they did not hang around for long!

1 comment:

  1. [...] Chicken.” It was very good, as was the salmon that Wilma seasoned, and we ate with fresh homemade pesto sauce (with basil from her garden) and pasta. And Nonno’s steak looked pretty good, [...]