Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Simply prepared food invites you to dig in

Two organic eggs with sauteed cabbage and salted cod fish.

Pan-fried whole fresh croaker with mashed sweet Kabocha squash
Mashed squash reappears at breakfast with eggs and sun-dried tomatoes.

Wild king salmon and whole-wheat spaghetti, both with freshly made pesto.

Pasta and egg whites with pesto are a healthy alternative to bacon and eggs.

Here is Marcella Hazan's recipe for making pesto in a blender, minus salt and butter.

She used two kinds of cheese, but I use only grated Pecorino Romano, a sheep's milk cheese.

I made pesto a few days ago, and used the "Chop" setting on my blender -- a slow speed that allowed me to push down the basil, garlic and other ingredients as the blender worked.


Enough for 1 pound or six servings of pasta

2 cups fresh basil leaves 
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed with a heavy knife blade and peeled
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1. Put the pine nuts, garlic cloves, basil and extra-virgin olive oil in the blender and mix at high speed.  Stop from time to time and scrape the ingredients down toward the bottom of the blender cup with a rubber spatula.  

2.  When the ingredients are evenly blended, pour into a bowl and beat in the two grated cheeses by hand. (This is not much work, and it results in more interesting texture and better flavor than you get when you mix in the cheese in the blender.)  If you do not want to use the pesto immediately, put it into a closed container and freeze it before you add the cheese.

3. Before spooning the pesto over the pasta, add to it a tablespoon or so of the hot water in which the pasta has boiled.  Do not heat the pesto before you add it to the pasta.

Note: The best pesto has a great deal of basil in it. I use leaves and stems, and pack a measuring cup with it. The more basil, the better. I've also added mint, rosemary, arugula, parsley and other herbs, but think basil makes the best pesto.

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