Pesto

There are so many varieties to this gorgeous idea of herbs and olive oil blended and tossed over pasta. Parsley . . . Cilantro . . . Rosemary . . . I even whip up a batch of Balsamic-Lemon Spinach Pesto that’s really delightful! But truly, my favorite variety is the traditional one.
Basil.
The earthy sweetness. Crisp and almost acidic, but not quite. Green like fresh grass. It’s hard to find a meal I enjoy more than one that includes fresh pesto. And knowing this about myself, I planted ten basil plants in my garden this year. That’s right. Ten. And I might double that next year. I have no shame.

IMG_1475

My two oldest girls and I cut a bunch, washed them up, and whipped up a lovely batch of pesto this week. I spooned it generously over three-cheese ravioli and fresh grape tomatoes. Sprinkled with parmesan, only a loaf of crusty bread would have made it better. Next time.

IMG_1481

PESTO 
1 large bunch of basil—roughly 2 cups of leaves, washed, and stems removed
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 grated parmesan cheese
1 heaping teaspoon garlic
dash of lemon juice

Pine nuts are traditionally part of a solid pesto recipe, but I’m not a fan, so I left them out. If you like them, roast two tablespoons in a hot sauté pan with a splash of olive oil and salt until they brown. Set aside on paper toweling and allow to cool.

In a food processor, whirl basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and parmesan, scraping down sides of the bowl frequently for about a minute, or until a thick, smooth paste forms.

IMG_1478

Everyone has a different opinion about the thickness of a proper pesto. The beauty of making your own, means you get to decide what that looks like! Feel free to add more olive oil if you prefer your pesto a little thinner.
At this point you would also add the roasted pine nuts if you enjoy them.
Whirl again, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Serve over pasta of your choice, hot or cold.

IMG_1483

To store: divide between small jars and freeze what you intend keep beyond immediate use.
Enjoy!

 

coconut-cream sweet potatoes and sausage with spinach pesto

I gave this dish a skeptical eye the first time I made it. It was one of those, “Well, the flavors all work together, technically” situations.  Sweet potatoes, salty meat, cool and refreshing pesto. Match made in . . . I don’t know . . . Candyland?
But you guys. You. Guys.
This tastes so much more amazing than I ever planed.
For real. I need to figure out a better presentation, perhaps. Something molded or towering. Because the pile-on-a-plate just doesn’t do this thing justice.

“What are you calling this?” my husband asked, mowing down his second helping.
“Don’t know,” I said. He nodded.
“Maybe go with something more descriptive than that?”
“Suggestions?”
“Candy.” He said. And he heaped another plate.
And there you go.
Enjoy!

COCONUT-CREAM SWEET POTATOES AND SAUSAGE WITH SPINICH PESTO

1452176400371

*Note: This is another one of those two-for-one recipes. I’ve linked the pesto recipe here.

2 large sweet potatoes
¼ coconut cream
a dash of salt
1 lb mild Italian sausage
4 tablespoons lemon-balsamic spinach pesto

Scrub 2 sweet potatoes and pierce skin with a sharp knife, allowing them to breathe while baking (so much better than exploding inside your oven). Place potatoes directly on the rack of a 400-degree preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. Make sure the burner is lined with foil as the potatoes will drip while baking.

In a flat bottom pan, cook 1 pound of mild Italian sausage until browned and crumbly. Drain and set aside.

Mix up a batch of lemon-balsamic spinach pesto.

When the potatoes are finished baking, allow them to cool, and then slice lengthwise and scoop out the baked interiors into a mixing bowl. Dispose of the peels. Add coconut cream and a dash of salt to the potatoes, and then with a hand mixer, blend until will incorporated and smooth.

Plate up in layers—potatoes on the bottom with Italian sausage spooned generously over top, and finished with the pesto.

1452176489148

 

 

balsamic-lemon spinach pesto

Pesto. That flash of green. That earthy sweetness. Summer encapsulated. I love the stuff. On pasta, eggs, fish, in my coffee . . .
Ha.
Just checking to make sure you’re awake.

I brought two gorgeous basil plants inside from the garden when the weather turned cold. “Surely I can save these!” I thought.
Nope.
I tried.
They died.
There goes pesto.

However, today I whipped up a ‘pesto’ with a base of spinach instead of basil. And yaknow what? It’s almost good enough to drink in your coffee.
Enjoy!

BALSAMIC-LEMON SPINICH PESTO

1452106565066

• Notes:
This recipe is a two-for-one deal. I use my lemon-balsamic dressing in this in place of straight olive oil.

Balsamic-Lemon Salad Dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons balsamic vinaigrette
½ teaspoon fresh pressed garlic

a dash of salt

3 cups of organic baby spinach—washed
2 tablespoons Lemon-Balsamic salad dressing
1 tablespoon roasted pine-nuts

In a food processor or blender, pack the spinach down nice and firm, drizzle the dressing over top and sprinkle in pine nuts. Pulse/whirl a couple of times and then remove the cover and scrape down the sides with a soft spatula. Evaluate the consistency at this point. If the pesto seems a little dry add a little more dressing. Too wet? Add more spinach. Whirl again until smooth. Store in an air-tight container.

1452106644401

 

 

Sun-dried tomato and pesto pasta skillet with baked eggs

Sometimes dinner is about what you have in the fridge right now. Because everyoneisstarvingandmightdieiftheydonteatthissecond. So making a meal becomes a thing of urgency. And also odd creativity. Obviously. And out of such circumstances, this meal was born. Bonus, it serves as either dinner or breakfast!
I’m all about eggs these days. Funny, because I’ve never been an egg person. Probably because eggs are breakfast food and I am not a breakfast person. I’m a coffee person. Anyway.
Eggs. For dinner. Magic.
And so, for your urgent dinner needs:

SUN-DRIED TOMATO AND PESTO PASTA SKILLET WITH BAKED EGGS

14388870944451 lb angelhair pasta cooked el dente
3 tablespoons pesto
1 tablesoon sun-dried tomatoes (in oil so they are more of a sauce rather than a dried fruit)
1/2 fresh Parmesan (or to desired taste).
6 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
optional: bacon crumbles

Prepare pasta per package directions, drain and return to pot. Add pesto, sun dried tomatoes, and part. Stir in the warm pot until cheese is melty and the sauces are well combined with the pasta. Spoon mixture into a well-oiled (olive oil) cast iron skillet. Smooth out until settled and even in the pan. Using a spoon, create small “nests” in the pasta and crack one egg into each nest. Slide the whole skillet into a 375 degree preheated oven for 15 minutes or until eggs are cooked to desired preference. I like mine over-easy. Top with more parm or with bacon crumbles. Serve up to your ravenous Loves.
Enjoy!