Oh hello snobs and snobettes. I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying all of falls beautiful offerings. Since it was 17º here in Toronto yesterday it really got me thinking about summer and one of my favorite homemade condiments... pesto. This versatile sauce originated from Genoa (Italiay) and is made traditionally from fresh basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil and pine nuts. When I make it I leave out the pine nuts which can cut back on some calories and $$$ but certainly doesn't cut back on any flavor. You can also substitute the pine nuts for walnuts or hazelnuts for a modern twist. One thing about pesto that drives me completely crazy is when the herbs oxidize and you end up with a murky dark coloured pesto. If you follow my simple steps you'll end up with vibrant gorgeous green every time.
PREP: For the pesto combine a bunch fresh basil (discard stems), 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 lemon juiced, about a half a cup of grated parmesan, a pinch of salt & pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Blend everything up using a hand blender (or standing blender). If mixture is too thick continue to drizzle more olive oil as you blend. Taste and season with more lemon or cheese to your liking. For the vegetables slice the zucchini and eggplant about 1/2 inch length wise. Brush with olive oil & sprinkle with salt & pepper. One of my tips would be to buy pre roasted peppers from the antipasto bar at your grocery store or the jarred variety which can be a much needed time saver for busy home cooks.
COOK: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. Strain pasta and toss in a small amount of olive oil before spreading it out on a large baking sheet or pan to cool. The olive oil will prevent the pasta from sticking and clumping up into a solid mass. Using a cast iron grill pan (or bbq) grill up the zucchini and eggplant for a few mins on each side (the eggplant will take slightly longer). Let everything cool then cut into strips.
TIPS: Make sure the pasta and the veg are all cooled before combining everything with the pesto - this is they key to keeping your pesto pasta looking good. If you follow that rule you will never have dirty brown looking sauce again.
- Chow for now