Recently I came across a couple of recipes on the internet for homemade fresh pesto along with some delicious sounding recipes courtesy of Cold Climate Gardening. For some reason I always thought pesto was one of those crazy, time-consuming sauces that you only order at a restaurant because it is so difficult to make. (I don’t know what I was thinking!) I then started researching pesto and all these delightful little blog entries filled with many, many delicious-sounding recipes came across my computer screen and PRESTO! I’m cooking up some pesto. (I know very cheesy!)
My first encounter with pesto making was an interesting experience. I had lots of basil, but not much else. I had olive oil and parmesan cheese, but not a pine nut (or walnut) in the house. I substituted almonds for the pine nuts and garlic powder for fresh garlic. My pesto wasn’t even close to restaurant standards, but it still tasted pretty good!
I’ve never had enough basil (or a big enough food processor) to make a very large batch of pesto all at once, but I have taken the advice of Margaret Roach and started making as big of a batch as possible (or two) and freeze the extras. Having some pesto readily at hand is wonderful. I think I may have become an addict.
The funniest part of this pesto obsession is the reaction I get from Brad every time I pull these cubes of green bliss out of the freezer. He immediately scrunches up his nose and says “what the heck is that green stuff?” All though it may not look so pretty, the result is always an amazing dinner that ends with lots of smiles.
In honor of the deliciousness of pesto I have included a simple but delicious recipe I make pretty often:
Chicken and Vegetables with Pesto over Pasta
1 cup of pesto
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 chicken breasts, cubed
1 zucchini, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely diced
1/2 a box of whole wheat pasta
In a large pot boil water and add pasta.
Allow pasta to cook while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a large saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame.
Add onion and garlic to the pan and brown.
Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute until brown.
Transfer the chicken to a plate and season with salt and pepper.
Add zucchini and tomatoes (and any other veggies you choose) to the pan and saute until cooked though.
Return the chicken to the pan along with the pesto sauce.
Mix until chicken and veggies are coated with sauce.
Serve over pasta.
Makes 3 servings.