It was another great week of produce from the Milkweed Farm share. This weeks highlights included a spicy mesclun mix, beautifully-colored beets, scallions, French tarragon and an abundance of lush greens.
I had caught a glimpse of a scallion pesto recipe last week and having just bought a new Cuisinart, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out with some fresh pasta. The recipe came from here:
http://johndlee.hubpages.com/hub/Scallion-Pesto-Recipe but I must admit that with my normal disregard for following recipes, I primarily focused on the ingredients included and not necessarily the proportions. Thankfully, the recipe also had a disclaimer about taking the amounts with a grain of salt and that it was more of a “taste as you go” recipe (my favorite kind!).
I roughly chopped the beautifully fresh scallions and threw them into the Cuisanart along with a quick squeeze of lime juice, the capers, garlic and a few sunflower seeds. The recipe said to not include the white bulbs, but having a love of all things onions, I wanted the strong taste. I added a few to the Cuisinart and saved the rest for tomorrow’s salad.
After pureeing the ingredients and tasting it along the way (a touch more lime juice here and a bit of sugar to cut the strength of the onion just a touch), I added enough olive oil to make it a perfect sauce for our fresh pasta. The taste of the pesto is quite strong, and it may not be for everyone, but you can definitely play with the proportions or add greens like spinach to make it a bit more mild. While we served it with pasta, I imagine it would be amazing spread on crostini with mozzarella and tomato.
When adding the pesto to the pasta, keep in mind that a little goes a long way. I
Overall, we were pretty happy with this pesto and while I absolutely love fresh chopped scallions in a salad, it’s nice to have this recipe on hand for those times when the scallions need to be used up.
Pesto is an amazing recipe to have on hand as it’s the perfect way to use up any extra greens or herbs and can be used on or in everything from crostini to fish, pasta, mac & cheese, potato salad, and soup. Below is a simple pesto recipe, but try substituting any greens or herbs (when using herbs, it’s a good idea to cut the flavor with some greens), any nuts or even seeds (pecans being our favorite thanks to their sweet, mellow flavor), any mild vegetable oil (grapeseed is great and has terrific health benefits), and any hard cheese (optional). The remaining pesto can be refrigerated for weeks or frozen indefinitely and used throughout the year for soups. Also, try adding to cream cheese or mayonnaise or vegenaise for an amazing spread for sandwiches!
Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
- 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Special equipment needed: A food processor (check out my personal addiction – Now You’re Cooking)
1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.
Yield: Makes 1 cup.