Baking is science and I don't like formulas, but cooking is art and anything goes...and the simpler the better. It's all about less time at the stove and more time at the table. With a forty year passion for food I'm excited to share what I do in the kitchen nearly every day.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Winter Pestos

The days of fresh basil are over for a while but that doesn’t mean you have to stop making pesto, winter greens work just as well.  For this version I used Swiss chard but kale, turnip, or beet greens would have all done the job, the key is to remove the major veins of each leaf then blanch and drain them thoroughly before adding them to the pesto. 

While the greens are draining I chop a generous handful of pine nuts or almonds in my Cuisinart along with a large peeled and coarsely chopped garlic clove and a dash of Kosher Salt.  Use a spatula to scrape the mixture back into the bottom of the Cuisinart before adding the drained greens.  With the cover on I start the Cusinart and drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil through the opening in the lid until the mixture is smooth but not runny.  I recommend that you add the oil slowly and keep checking the consistency…you can always add more oil. 

Finally I add a quarter cup of grated parmesan, a squeeze of lemon juice, additional kosher salt to taste, and one more quick pulse to stir it all together. This time around I tossed the pesto with my cooked pasta, some roasted cubed butternut squash, and a dozen tiny grape potatoes I dug out of the bottom of the basket at the last farmer’s market but it would have been just as great with the pesto alone or combined with just the roast squash.  I think it’s safe to say that you can throw just about anything in the Cuisinart with garlic, olive oil, salt, and parmesan cheese and it will be really good. 

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