Playing Around with Pesto

Genesis from Full Hand Farm included a recipe for classic classic basil pesto in her weekly email newsletter last week – to tie in with their bumper crop of basil last week. (Note: if you don’t already get the Full Hand Farm weekly email, you are missing a real treat – sign up at fullhandfarm.com). But variations on pesto are limitless – try some of these to pair with your favorite pasta or veggies. Tip: If pairing your pesto with pasta, be sure to save some pasta water for thinning and enhancing the sauce.

Full Hand Farm Classic Pesto

  • 1 cup raw pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans or pepitas (toasted)
  • 6 cups packed fresh basil leaves (about 8 ounces)
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Put all ingredients in food processor and drizzle in olive oil while processing. Store covered in fridge or freeze in ice cube trays.

Sicilian Tomato Pesto Pasta

recipe from the Pasta Project

Basil growing at Full Hand Farm

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta
  • 2 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 2-3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil.
  • salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Wash and peel the tomatoes (see post for how to peel tomatoes) Cut them in half and remove most the seeds and liquid. You can also use unpeeled tomatoes if you prefer. Peel the garlic. Wash the basil leaves and pat them dry with kitchen paper.
  2. Add the tomatoes to your blender or food processor and pulse a couple of times. Then add the garlic, pine nuts and Parmigiano. Pulse again a few times. Then add the basil leaves and a little olive oil. Pulse in short spurts to avoid heating the blender and ruining the basil. If your sauce seems too liquid, add more grated cheese.
  3. Pour the pesto into a bowl and add the ricotta and salt to taste. Mix the ricotta in with a fork. Store your pesto in an airtight jar in the fridge for 2-3 days or use immediately.
  4. Save a cup of pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and pour it back into the pot. Add the Sicilian pesto and mix well. If the sauce seems thick add some of the pasta cooking water. Serve immediately with more ricotta or grated cheese.

NOTE: Keep back some of the fresh ricotta and add it to the pasta and pesto before serving. This pesto is best kept in the fridge and used within 2-3 days.

 

Arugula Pesto

recipe from the Pasta Project

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-6 handfuls washed arugula (you can substitute half the leaves with spinach)
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese (2oz) grated (vegetarians will need to use a vegetarian parmesan)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • 5-6 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil you may need more
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) toasted pine nuts (you can also use walnuts or almonds)
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper. to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the washed rocket or basil leaves into a food processor with the garlic and a little olive oil and pulse a few times.
  2. Add the toasted pine nuts and grated cheese, season with pepper and salt as required and pulse one or twice again.
  3. Remove from the food processor and more olive oil if necessary to get the consistency you require.
  4. Save a cup of pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and return to the pan. Add the pesto. Mix the pasta and pesto together. Add pasta cooking water if the sauce seems dry.
  5. Mix the pasta and sauce together well and serve with extra grated cheese if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

recipe from the Pasta Project

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 red bell peppers washed, tops and seeds removed
  • 1-2 small garlic clove peeled and cut into pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil. as required
  • ½ cup walnuts ( 3.5 oz) shelled
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese (3.5 oz)
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley washed and chopped for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Put the cleaned peppers on an oven tray covered with baking paper, sprinkle with a little olive oil and cook for 20-25 minutes in a preheated oven at 180° until the skins start to brown.
  2. When the peppers are ready, let them cool a bit and peel them (if you place them in a plastic food bag for 15 minutes after removing them from the oven, they will be easier to peel!)
  3. Cut the peppers into pieces.
  4. Put the walnuts and garlic into a blender and pulse until the pieces are quite small. Add the pepper pieces, basil, half the cheese and some olive oil and pulse again until the sauce is evenly blended but don’t make it too smooth. If it seems too dry add a little more olive oil.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste and your pesto is ready!
  6. Save a cup of pasta cooking water once the pasta is ready then drain the pasta and return it to the pan and add the pesto. If it seems to dry add a little of the pasta cooking water.
  7. Mix well and serve immediately with the rest of the grated Parmigiano as required and chopped parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Add grilled chicken, shrimp, cherry tomatoes, or sliced eggplant or squash to pesto and pasta for an even more complete and healthy meal.

For more variations on pesto, visit the Pasta Project.

 https://www.the-pasta-project.com/types-of-pesto/

https://www.the-pasta-project.com/casarecce-pasta-with-sicilian-pesto/#recipe

https://www.the-pasta-project.com/trofie-rocket-pesto/#recipe

https://www.the-pasta-project.com/casarecce-roasted-red-pepper-pesto/#recipe

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