pesto is delicious. ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

07 May 2007

pesto is delicious.

So it's summer. UGH!

Summer makes hiding inside playing videogames awfully hot, even when it's barely May. On the other hand, we live in California, so playing videogames, or doing anything at all, really, is awfully hot half the time anyway. I suppose I should talk, considering that the midwest gets much hotter than this in summer. I am, however, whiny. I enjoy a good whine every once and again. I also enjoy the excuse to have coldy cold cold dinner. No, not ice cream. Fresh herbs! I made pesto.

Pesto is really easy, despite what you may think. The only trick is to actually have the right ingredients on hand, and to have some sort of food processing solution. Our tiny terrible food processor, which has such an arduous time getting through even one bowl of soup, was totally fine with this.

We should really grow basil. The problem is that rampaging squirrels eat every single thing we plant in the backyard. It's a ridiculous curse, considering that this is the one thing California's blazing hot sun would actually be good for. I do have one tiny scrawny plant that has been sitting in the kitchen window getting woodier and woodier for the past year. It has a few usable leaves, but nothing like the quantity you need for a dose of pesto. So I had to buy some instead.


1 bunch basil
some parsley if you want
maybe half a cup of pine nuts
olive oil
parmesan cheese, if you want it and you aren't vegan
ONE garlic clove, and only if you really love garlic.

Wash the herbs, get them off their stems, and chop them up. Proportions here are not that important as long as you clearly have predominant basil. Put them in the food processor with several drizzles of olive oil, your pine nuts, and a good dusting of grated parmesan. Process until everything is a thick, chunky paste. Hey, it's pesto!

Garlic can be an issue here. I had initially thought to add one clove for each person, but the result after adding and pulsing only one clove was plenty garlicky for me. This stuff is raw: plan accordingly. I bet if you really wanted garlicky pesto you could do some interesting experiments with garlic sautéed in the olive oil, or just steeped in it and then taken out.

What to do with the pesto? The obvious choice: put it on pasta. Other not-so-obvious choices include:

*sandwiches of the roasted tomato/red pepper/mozzarella/spinach variety
*soupe au pistou, which we will cover in future, I assure you
*broil it with more parmesan on good bread

All of these were too hot, however. Pasta is really, really good at losing its heat quickly, and it's an olive oil vehicle besides, so we wanted that. I made rotini. While it was cooking, I chopped up some spinach and threw it raw on the plates, to wilt a little under the pasta. Also I made the pesto. So: pasta done, pasta drained, pasta tossed with olive oil and stuck on plates, pasta topped with pesto and some more cheese/salt/pepper.

Let it cool a little, then have it with white wine.