I have been away at the beach with one of my best girlfriends for the past few days. We relaxed and did very little of anything...we talked, and talked, and talked...it was lovely. Now I am home...my kids are back from Europe, my husband is also back and life will slowly but surely get back to normal.
This dinner was one of the first home cooked meals my husband had had in a month of being away in Brussels...he was happy. I made some pesto with a big bunch of basil I had. I used a Lidia Bastianich recipe and added a bit more basil then called for and then a nice handful of baby spinach. It kept the pesto nice and green. I used a processor rather than a blender and the method of combining the ingredients makes for a lovely verdant green paste, rather than a more oily pesto. I used some water from the pasta pot to thin it out and added two tablespoons of cream to the pesto mixture. It was wonderful pesto. Two cups of basil and a nice handful of baby spinach gave me enough pesto for two pounds of pasta and then some...
It comes out and stays very green from the spinach...you can not taste that it is in there at all...I will most definitely do this again...I also loved that this pesto was not too oily... Classic Pesto Lidia Bastianich
Yields: 1 cup
* 1 pinch coarse sea salt * 60 small or 30 large fresh basil leaves, dried * 2 cloves garlic, peeled * 3 tablespoons pignoli, lightly toasted * 2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano, fresh, finely grated * 2 tablespoons Grana Padano, fresh, finely grated * 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
In a mortar: Start with salt and few leaves of basil. Crush with a pestle, keep adding leaves a few at a time, then add garlic and pound until the mixture becomes a paste. Add pignoli and work into a paste, then add cheese and slowly pour the olive oil. Work all into a creamy consistency.
In a blender: Add basil, salt and garlic. Work into a paste, add pignoli and slowly pour half of the olive oil. Add cheese and the remaining olive oil. Blend until it becomes a homogeneous, creamy paste.
My notes: I used about two cups of basil, loosely packed and a nice handful of raw baby spinach. I used about 4 tablespoons of oil all together...if it is too thick then just add a little bit more oil. I used two really big fat garlic cloves. When serving, thin out the pesto with some hot pasta water, if you like you can also add a tablespoon or two of cream, toss with hot drained pasta....
I also served my friend Lori's Chicken Cutlets with Artichokes, Tomato, and Mozzarella from her wonderful blog All That Splatters. It was delicious! I had some freshly made mozzarella from the farmer's market that I used... everyone loved this...I hope you stop by her blog...lots of wonderful recipes and pictures there.