Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A change of plans

Well, Sam and I both had exhausting workdays today, so we decided to take it easy and leave the tempura for another night; instead, we had our old standby: linguine with pesto. We always make sure to have some pesto in the freezer for just such emergencies. We tend to grow a large amount of basil in our garden during the summer, and when it's ready to harvest we make enough pesto to last the whole year. It freezes well, and all you need to do to use it is take it from the freezer, scrape a little off the top with a spoon, and add it to the hot pasta and dinner is ready.

If you don't have space or time for a garden, Asian markets are often the best place to buy fresh basil in large quantities at reasonable prices. The amount that they charge you to buy a couple of sprigs at the grocery store is ridiculous.

Here's our pesto recipe:

3/4 C fresh basil leaves
4 - 5 cloves garlic
3 T pine nuts
1/2 tsp salt
5 T olive oil
1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 T freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Put all the ingredients except for the cheeses into a food processor and spin until smooth. Pour into a bowl, mix in the cheeses and a bit of freshly ground black pepper, put it into a tupperware container and freeze. We often will make double- or quadruple- batches of this recipe since it's always good frozen. It's also excellent as a replacement for red sauce on pizza!

To make our simple dinner a little nicer, Sam blanched a few stalks of frozen asparagus to go alongside the pasta.


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