Friday, July 31, 2009

A Trio of Pesto

Fred is headed south this weekend to hike through miles and miles of watery canyons in the Subway (click on the link for photos) at Zion National Park. Fourteen miles of fantastic scenery and pruney skin. FUN.

While he's gone, I'm headed to the Uinta Mountains to hike the Wall Lake Trail with some friends. Then, I will kick back the rest of the weekend and enjoy my time alone and eat pesto. Pesto is my new favorite topping for EVERYTHING. I like it on bread. I like it on pasta. I like it on veggies and pita and salad. I like it in the house. I like it with a mouse. I like it here, there and everywhere. I would even like it on green eggs and ham, Sam-I-Am. Well maybe not on green eggs and ham. The colors could be overwhelming.


Anyway, remember the pesto recipes I promised to re-create? I think I've done it. Lemon Artichoke, Pistachio Basil, and Sun Dried Tomato. All three are mouth-watering. Note: they all taste better after being in the fridge overnight. But let them warm up a bit before serving. Nothing worse than ice cold pesto.

Artichoke Lemon Pesto with Parmesan
  • 2 Cans Artichokes (14 oz cans packed in water) drain well
  • 1/2 Cup raw Pine Nuts
  • 2 to 3 Tblsp Lemon juice (start with 2, add the other if you REALLY like lemon)
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 Tsp sea salt or to taste
  • A dash or two of Ground Cayenne Red Pepper
In a food processor, pulse the artichokes (drained!!) with the pine nuts until well chopped. About 15 to 30 seconds. Add Parmesan, lemon, oil and salt. Pulse a few more seconds. Don't over process!! Remove from processor and mix in the dash or two of cayenne. Vegans can skip the cheese and it will not affect the recipe. If your pesto seems too thick, add a small amount of oil until it loosens up.

Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
  • 1 Jar of Sun Dried Tomatoes packed in oil (julienned, whole, or chopped is fine)
  • 1/2 Cup cooked carrots (you can used canned)
  • 1 Small yellow onion, coarsely chopped and sauteed in 2 Tblsp oil until they are turning clear, then cooled
  • 2 Large garlic cloves (or 3 if you really like garlic)
  • 1/3 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tblsp Lemon juice
  • 1/3 Cup basil packed down or 1 cup loose (basically a handfull)
  • 1/4 Tsp sea salt
  • 2 small Roma or plum tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • Dash of Ground Cayenne Red Pepper

Saute the onion until slightly soft. Don't cook down too much. Let cool slightly. In a food processor, pulse the sun dried tomatoes (including oil in jar), carrots, onions, basil and garlic for about 15 seconds. Add oil and lemon. Pulse a few more seconds until combine but not over processed. Cut the stem end off your plum tomatoes, cut in quarters and add to the processor. Pulse just 2 or 3 seconds until the tomatoes break up. Again, don't over process. Remove and mix in salt and your dash of red pepper. (makes about 2 cups)

Pistachio Basil Pesto

1/3 Cup roasted pistachios (shelled)
3 Large garlic cloves (or more!)
8 Cups loose basil (rinsed)
1/3 Cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Add salt to taste if pistachios are unsalted

In a food processor, pulse the pistachio nuts and garlic about 10 seconds. Add basil leaves 2 cups at a time and pulse about 5 seconds after each batch. Then scrape sides and grind some more. You want the basil to be chopped very fine but DO NOT add any liquid yet. Once you feel the basil is fine enough, remove this mixture and hand mix in the oil, lemon and parmesan. You may need to add more oil if the consistency is too stiff. You want the oil to seep away from the basil a bit at room temperature. This is supposed to be oily! Add salt to taste. Again, Vegans can skip the cheese. The recipe will be fine without it.

1 comment:

Lace Olpin said...

Liz, will you just cook for us?!! It looks so delicious. I love a heathly, hearty meal that I don't have to feel guilty about. One of these evenings we need to get together again and I will sample all your pestos, lol :0) Maybe you can help inspire me to cook so Jeff can have a yummy meal every once-in-a-while.