My son, Noah is a great cook and gardener and I am excited to share his guest blog post on creating pesto out of a variety of ingredients! Check out his post and I hope that you try some winter pesto!
It’s nice to try out making new, delicious recipes at home, but, for when things get hectic during the week, it’s important to have some clutch recipes on the menu. You know the ones: you could cook blindfolded, with even a couple of ingredients missing. Clutch meals make it to the table fast and with a happy reception when you wondered what to cook for dinner. Among our household’s clutch players is a super simple pasta plate from the blog Kath Eats Real Food Hair of An Angel
This recipe is a diving board for improvisation. Kath calls for zucchini, bell pepper and shrimp, which is an awesome combination, but if we have none of these, and they are out of season, any local produce and protein do just fine. You can make it an easy vegetarian recipe by used tempeh, seitan, tofu, beans or nuts. The angel hair can be swapped for whatever box of pasta is lurking in the back of the pantry. Whatever you throw into the pot, the pesto sauce pulls it all together. So if we don’t have the ingredients to blend up some pesto or a jar of the stuff around, we’re out of luck then, right? Nope.
Pesto, like salsa, is open to interpretation. Four elements are necessary: leaves, cheese, nuts and oil. Traditionally these are basil, Parmesan, pine nuts and olive oil. But uniquely delicious pesto sauces can be made from just about any four of these ingredient types. When I cooked Kath’s pesto pasta this week, we actually had all the ingredients called for – except the pesto. We had the Parmesan and olive oil, but definitely no basil or pine nuts. I looked through my own copy of Farm Fresh Nutrition and became inspired with the Pesto made with Arugula or Other Greens on p. 149 and I threw the winter green arugula and some pecans into the food processor. The book has several other pestos and I typically add a little of this and a little of that until the consistency and taste fits what I am serving. If you are aiming for a thick, textured sauce, so be sure to not over-blend. Many greens, arugula included, are much bitter than an herb like basil. This bitterness can be balanced with an extra dash of oil, cheese, salt and pepper. Try switching around any of the four elements to create your unique pesto. Kale, Romano, pecans, and sunflower oil? Hey, could be a hit…
Creativity in the home kitchen is perhaps the most crucial ingredient when it comes to keeping favorite recipes fresh and versatile. Cooking the same stuff the same way all the time is the recipe for diminishing enjoyment of go-to foods. Keep your clutch players in the game by allowing life and inspiration to mix up the ingredient roster.
Pesto Made From Arugula or Other Greens
4 cups local greens, washed stemmed, torn
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup hard cheese grated
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
From Farm Fresh Nutrition
Hope that you like this quick and delicious menu idea for one of your weekly suppers! Stay tuned to the Vine Ripe Nutrition blog for more tasty tidbits!