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

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