Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Mmmmm, Pesto!!

Apologies all...I've been blog-free for far too long and it's time for me, at last, to share a yummy recipe. What's my excuse for the lack of bloggage?? Well, life happens I guess...you know, summer fun--family visits, weekends spent running around doing fun stuff, weekdays being all booked up. I've been wanting to post my favorite pesto recipe for some time now and I finally have a calm moment to myself to sit down and share it with you.

I love pesto. I can't get enough pesto. And I've tried so many brands of store-bought pesto and have never found one that comes even close to home-made.

So, if you've found the same problem, here's a recipe that makes a nice big batch of home-made pesto that is so easy and so delicious, you'll never buy a store-bought pesto ever again!! This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Keep it sealed with plastic wrap so that the top doesn't turn brown (from oxidizing).

This is a spinach pesto, my current favorite because a big bunch of spinach is so much cheaper than a bunch of basil (unless you have basil growing in your garden).

1 package of fresh whole wheat linguine (enough for 4 servings)

142g or 5oz baby spinach (I use the small plastic boxes of pre-washed or about 3-4 cups)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
pinch nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Put a large pot of water on to boil. When the water is boiling add 1T salt, if desired, then add the linguine and cook according to package instructions. Stir to prevent sticking/clumping.

Meanwhile, place the spinach, walnuts, garlic, nutmeg in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. Open the top tube of the food processor, switch it on and drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture forms a paste, not too thick and not too thin.

Remove the mixture from the food processor into a small bowl and add the lemon juice and parmesan cheese and mix well. Serve desired amount over freshly cooked and drained (but not rinsed) pasta.

Optional garnishes:
1/4 cup goat cheese, dotted over top
1-2 T toasted walnuts or pine nuts (or both!)
grated parmesan cheese
2 T chopped fresh basil

This will leave you with some leftover pesto, yay! The leftover pesto can be used on pizza, sandwiches, grilled vegetables, more pasta, in a tomato pasta sauce or in a creamy pasta sauce...the possibilities are endless!!