Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Summer Fresh Pesto

The garden has been beautifully bountiful this year. We've had produce trickling in all summer, but the past 6 weeks have been simply overflowing. I've enjoyed testing and inventing new recipes to try to use up all of the Goodness.

If there's one thing you can't have too much of in a backyard garden, it just might be Basil. This is especially true if you have a preponderance of tomatoes. The basil has been thick in the garden this year, glossy and brilliant. It's incredibly versatile and adds a splash of freshness wherever it finds a place. Slice some tomatoes, top with fresh dipped mozerella and basil leaves, drizzle with balsamic, and throw under the broiler for a few minutes. A beautiful caprese dish, inspired by "Luzer's Tomato Plate of Doom". Then there's pesto. It couldn't be simpler. Take a few handfuls of basil leaves, a handful of shredded parmesan, maybe a handful of pine nuts, definitely a good drizzle of olive oil, and throw it in the food processer. Voila! Now the kids weren't thrilled about it until we called it "Green Spaghetti", making it out of Mollie Katzen's "Pretend Soup". (More on Mollie's kids cookbooks later!) Then they each ate 2 helpings. It's amazing how getting kids involved and adding a bit of imagination can make a big difference.

One of our favorite dishes so far has been a pesto primavera, ala the Pesto Cavatappi at Noodles & Co. Our currant tomatoes are unbelievable little bursts of Tomato Goodness. Their jeweled strands on the vines are almost magical, and they are perfect for this dish. Just make a pesto, however you like it, and your pasta of choice. Reserve a bit of the pasta water to thin the pesto. Toss the pesto and pasta together, then add a bit of extra parmesan, and your choice of fresh veggies. We used baby yellow pear tomatoes, isis candy tomatoes, and currant tomatoes. Toss and serve. So simple, so good.

If you're serving it to little ones, let them strip the leaves of the basil, choose the tomatoes or other fresh veggies to add, let them add in the cheese, let them stir. The more they help, the more they own the dish, and the more likely they are to enjoy it themselves. Bon Apetit!

1 comment:

e4 said...

You always describe such awesome sounding food!