Wednesday, November 27, 2013

pesto two ways


I made spinach pesto ages ago, and it was fabulous. But today I made a more traditional version for the first time. And promptly decided to put it on everything I eat for the next week. Possibly including my Thanksgiving pie. Hopefully there will be more pictures to come. The first variation uses spaghetti squash, which I've been rather addicted to this autumn. The second puts the pesto in a creamy sauce over pasta. To my surprise and delight, coconut milk makes an even richer and more dreamy sauce than the usual cream.

Basic Pesto Recipe

2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup walnuts (because pine nuts are way expensive. but use those if you want.)
3 cloves garlic
a bit of salt to taste
1/2 cup good olive oil

Put the first four ingredients (adjust proportions according to taste, whim, or contents of your pantry) in your food processor. Turn it on, and slowly pour the olive oil in through the lid.

Variation one:

Inspired by my go-to spaghetti squash recipe, courtesy of Big Girls Small Kitchen.

1 medium-size spaghetti squash
1 cup pesto
4 oz ricotta cheese

Roast and gut the spaghetti squash (The Kitchn does a good job of explaining how to do that.) and pat the innards with a kitchen towel to remove extra moisture. Mix in the pesto and most of the ricotta. Transfer to a baking dish, dot the top with the rest of the ricotta, and stick it under the broiler for a few minutes until the top starts to brown (you can skip the broiler if you're in a hurry, but it's worth it if you have time).

Variation two:

Pictured above. Inspired by the Silver Palate pasta with pesto recipe and The Rising Spoon.

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup pesto
2 teaspoons crushed pepper
salt to taste
1/2 lb pasta
parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta, drain, and set aside. Return the pot to the stove on medium-low heat. Melt the butter in it, then whisk in the coconut milk. Stir in the pesto, crushed pepper, and salt, and continue heating until the mixture is hot but not boiling. Stir in the pasta. Top with parmesan.