I'm not usually one to crave pesto, but the other day I had a vision and was determined to make my tastebuds' dreams come true.
Full disclosure: this is by no means the most traditional pesto, but it ain't far off and it was quite tasty, if I do say so myself.
What you'll need:
your choice of pasta, I used the Brown Rice and Quinoa Fusilli from Trader Joe's
4 oz of fresh basil
a few handfuls of fresh spinach
4-6 garlic cloves
2 oz goat’s milk cheddar cheese for an experimental touch
roasted sunflower seeds
a sprinkle of salt to taste
a touch of nutritional yeast for a good time
juice of 1/2 a lemon
a generous pour of rich olive oil
What you'll do:
Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor
Cook the pasta in generously salted water
Reserve about a 1/3 of a cup of the pasta water
Drain water and put the drained pasta back in pot
Gently mix in the pesto and some of the pasta water until pasta is fully coated
Note: making pesto in a food processor might make it a bit bitter since it oxidizes the basil, so you can add some brown sugar to balance the flavors and fix that if it happens!
I love recipes like this one that are easy to adjust and that add personal flair to timeless dishes. For example, I'll add fresh greens I have that might go bad soon (hence the spinach, but arugula and even kale could work too if it's just a small amount so as not to steal the basil's thunder) or using sunflower seeds instead of the more traditional pine nuts for an allergic person such as myself :-) Now, the cheddar cheese is what is the least traditional about this, but it added a richness and cheesiness—yes, obviously, the cheese will be cheesy...but I mean it added an excellent melt factor that pleasantly surprised me.
This recipe is sure to be scrumptious, filling and will even leave you with leftover pesto to use soon after!