This past Labor Day, as I was recovering from what, on paper, sounded suspiciously like the Swine Flu (known around these parts as the Black Death, Part 2), Hank and I decided to celebrate the swirling cesspool of germs that currently inhabits my body and make food! Lots and lots of food! We made: banana bread, pesto, pasta, vegetarian stuffed peppers, a mess, mac n cheese, baked beans, a bigger mess...
It was the culinary equivalent of a shooting spree.
Here is my favorite recipe from the day:
Pesto Salad Pasta Recipe
8 oz box of penne pasta
1 cup of homemade pesto or store bought.
1/3 cup of mayonnaise (hank made the mayo, homemade)
1.5 cups of frozen sweet peas
1 cup of artichoke hearts, quartered
*Optional: 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a small bowl, mix pesto and mayo. set aside.
Cook pasta to al dente, drain, put in large bowl.
Add frozen peas and toss with pesto/mayo until everything is well mixed and coated.
Gently fold in drained artichoke hearts. Smile over how awesome and freaky artichoke hearts are.
Refrigerate for 20, 30 minutes, then proceed to snarf it all down. Well, not all.
Hank and I made the pesto from the basil plants we've been trying to cultivate on our back porch. I am beginning to suspect that I do not have a green thumb. All signs are pointing in that direction, so I think we did the basil a favor by ripping ALL their poor leaves off and putting them out of their misery. They weren't THAT bad, but the poor plants can only do so much when they've been as traumatized as ours were, moving so much in and out of "pots", which half the time were plastic dixie cups that kept tipping over in quiet desperation, sometimes laying sideways for hours before one of us came home to hear their cries. Poor basil leaves. Such a short, difficult life lived, only to end with the violent chopping of a knife...
Here's the pesto recipe:
cups of fresh basil, packed
2-4 cloves of garlic (more of less depending on how spicy you like it)
1/2 cup of pine nuts
2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
A pinch of salt and pepper to taste
Pretty much, mix it all together and chop. If you're lucky, you have a food processor. If your life has been an uphill battle with luck, you don't have said food processor the day you make the pesto, and then get one in the mail on loan from your mother in law...5 days after you chopped the heck out of those poor basil leaves.
We learned the long way that a regular blender does not do the trick. We moved on with our lives. The pesto was still A-MAZ-ING!