Tuesday, August 31, 2010

presto pesto

ages ago

hubster and i
were in san francisco
where my good friend mia and her husband christian
hosted us for dinner

we don't often get invited for home cooked meals
i frequently hear
"i couldn't possibly cook for you
i would be so embarrassed"
it makes me a little sad
because we eat normal food around here
and sometimes we even eat bad food
and i mean--spit it out before it kills you bad

my kitchen is like a laboratory for me
i hate waste
so, you can only imagine what i sometimes serve
under the guise of

i am always so grateful
when a brave friend
extends an invitation 
to break bread

mia treated us
to perfectly cooked pasta
coated in emerald green pesto
it was gorgeous
and delicious

i took really great photos
so i could feature this meal
i lost my card-thingy from my camera
and those memories remain only in my head
i make a bit of a mean pesto myself

armed with loads of basil from our garden
i whipped this up
and was treated
a mock-mia dinner for two
*i use a mortar and pestle to make my pesto--but it is common to use a food processor. use whatever makes you most comfortable
3 cups--packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cups toasted pine nuts
1 large garlic clove-coarsely chopped
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
pinch of sea or kosher salt
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of crushed red peppers
1/2 cup or so of extra virgin olive oil
because i use a mortar and pestle, i have to do this in "batches".    place the coarsely chopped garlic in the mortar.  sprinkle the salt over and grind to a paste.  next, add in the basil.  adding a handful of basil at a time, grind with the pestle against the side of the bowl.  continue this until all the basil has been smooshed.  repeat this procedure with the pine nuts, adding a few tablespoons at a time, then the cheese.  slowly stir in the olive oil, lemon zest and crushed red pepper.
if using on pasta, cook the pasta according to package instructions.  reserve a few tablespoons of pasta water.  in a skillet, heat the reserved water and the pesto on low.  toss in the cooked pasta and warm until all is coated. use more cooking liquid if desired. top with a bit more cheese

I am linking up to


  1. My mother was a mortar and pestle kind of women too..she even had a small collection of them. I will have to try adding lemon zest to my pesto. Never have but I bet it would brighten things up a bit! Joni

  2. yum. I . Love. pesto.

    Thanks so much for stopping by on Friday! =)

  3. That is a thing of beauty...love the mortar & pestle! Sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing it w/ t4t this week (and just in case you didn't see my answer over at Food 'n Flix...of course you can play along...everyone's welcome!!) =)

  4. I am sure there is a wonderfully foodie reason to use the mortar and pestle but I just love that it brings you that much closer to the dish! Thanks Christy for linking this to Two for Tuesdays.

  5. Oh how I would love for someone to cook for me! I think that might be on my ultimate treat list. And if they served this pesto, I wouldn't complain. I'm green with envy, but thank you for sharing with Two for Tuesday :)

  6. I think that it's super cool that you make your pesto with a mortar and pestle! I have never seen it done that way, and I imagine it gives a totally different texture to the dish!
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my green beans!! Hope you like the dish!

  7. Oh, yum! Homemade pesto is awesome! You can make pesto in the same amount of time it takes to run to the store to buy it. My basil plant is not growing very well right now, so I haven't enjoyed fresh pesto from it yet, but my mom has an overabundant basil plant that she is happy to share with me! Must make some pesto soon!! =)

  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog! Pesto is a yummy, easy sauce that I forget about. Thanks for the reminder. =)


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