Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Pesto, Presto! And how to use it recipes!

Garlic grass, Greek Oregano, Italian Oregano, Parsley, Basil (l to r.)
I have one.
And because I love to cook (and hubbie loves to pair a good wine with what I create), we grow herbs year-round. (I'd grow more, but hey, we live in TEXAS where the weather has only two seasons, Hot and Hotter.)
When I'm not at my keyboard, I am doing a Chinese Fire Drill to cultivate, water and weed my garden. Pictured here is this year's crop of herbs!
And those special containers? Ah. The only way to grow anything, except mosquitos, in south Texas requires a pot, baby! Why? So you can move plants out of the torrid sun, if necessary!
The last few weeks, I've been picking these plants back and making pesto for all kinds of dishes like marinaras and salad dressings. But it's been awhile since I posted a recipe here and thought I'd share this one!
So here we go:

1/2 c. olive oil (the good stuff, first pressed. I use LUCINI from Italy. Lovely. Light. Sweet.)
1/2 t. salt
1 c. of herbs (I use basil, parsley and oregano, but I use 3/4 cup of basil, the rest a mix of whatever I've got. I dice them all before I pack into the cup to measure.)
4-6 large cloves of garlic, diced (more or less to taste!)
Blend in blender.
Store in glass jars. Refrigerate.

RECIPES for this Pesto:

SALAD DRESSING (salad for 2; can be multiplied for larger quantities)
2 T. pesto
1/2 t. red or white wine vinegar
1/8 t. water

ROASTED SHRIMP (for 1 pound of fresh shrimp, service for 2)
2 T. pesto
juice of 1/2 lemon
Toss peeled shrimp in this mix.
Pop in pre-heated oven at 425 for 8-10 minutes. (Time will vary depending on size of shrimp)

To make a killer Margarita pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella and freshly grated parmesan, I baste my crust first with this mixture. I also use it on my crust in the spring when fresh figs are in season. 

PASTA SAUCE (for 10 oz of uncooked pasta, 2 people)
Heat in small pan 3 T. pesto sauce
Add 1/3 c. chicken broth
         1/2 c. white wine
Heat until bubbles begin to show it is boiling. Turn off heat. (You don't want to burn the oil, but you do want to cook the garlic bits!)
Drain pasta, toss with liquid
Toss pasta with freshly grated parmesan.
Add a salad—and dinner is served!

BASE for Italian dishes:
I will often throw in a tablespoon or more into a marinara, or use it with white wine to steam mussels.
Or just have a general High and rub it on your skin!
Just kidding.

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