As far as I know, I was the only little kid in the world who didn’t like spaghetti. Every other ankle-biter I knew went crazy over spaghetti, whether it be in traditional form or straight out of a Chef Boyardee can (here’s looking at you, Bill Gryta)… but for some reason, I found it completely unappealing. Which meant that generally, on spaghetti night, my mom would also cook a small pot of pesto.
The pesto was nothing special — it was from a packet and heated up in a couple minutes. Why did I love eating unidentifiable green liquid over classic spaghetti? Don’t ask me, but I could not get enough of it.
Years later I found out that pesto did not have to be made from a packet of green powder. We had never had a food processor growing up, and when I was introduced to its wonderful capabilities, I froke out. When I moved into the apartment, I got a food processor, and the first thing I made was pesto. It’s simple, it freezes well, and it’s so wonderful on so many things.
Last night, the perfect storm of fresh basil from my new basil plant Sebastien, a recent purchase of sundried tomatoes, and the urge to break out the good ol’ processor turned into a new spin on one of my old recipes: sundried tomato basil pesto. Oh, and you want a play-by-play of my cooking experience? Well, luckily I was just bored enough to document the entire process.
Sundried Tomato Basil Pesto. I have no idea how much it costs because I had most of the stuff on hand and I picked my own basil. Buy your own basil plant and the rest is a breeze! Serves at least 5 or 6.
Start with 1/4 c. of pine nuts (a.k.a. pignolis). Toast them by heating up a nonstick pan with no oil over medium heat. Pour in the pine nuts and shake them around every 30 seconds for a few minutes.
Add the pine nuts, 1/4 c. walnuts, and garlic to the food processor. The original recipe suggested 9 cloves. I used much more because I am Filipino and my boyfriend is Italian.
Process until it looks grainy. Take the top of your food processor off and stick your face down there and inhale. Can you smell that through the picture? Yummm.
Add fresh basil (4-5 packed) and a cup of sundried tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste, but don’t overdo it. Process, and while the food processor is running, drizzle in 1 1/4 c. olive oil (more or less, depending on your taste).
Add a cup of parmesan cheese. The cheese mellows out the bite of the garlic and adds saltiness, so don’t skimp. Process for a bit longer.
Pesto is delicious on pasta, on crostini, as a spread on a sandwich or hamburger, with crudites, as a marinade… the list goes on. I wouldn’t mind using it as one of those scenty things that hangs from my rearview mirror. I froze about half of this recipe, and spooned some unfrozen pesto over reheated capellini pomodoro to make the pasta at the top of this post. I suggest you do the same. Happy eating!