Monday, October 22, 2012

Meatless Monday & National Nut Day.....that means pesto!

It seems like forever since I did a "Meatless Monday", and this one is a particular favorite one of mine.  I have always loved pesto and pasta, and today is actually "National Nut Day" so I figure lets make a marriage of the two and feature pesto as our "Meatless Monday" recipe.   Pesto is actually amazingly easy to make and completely delicious, especially during the harvest season.  If you have some fresh basil, some pine nuts, and good olive oil you are set for a feast.  Sometimes I substitute spinach for the basil or pistachios for the pine nuts, really do whatever your taste buds crave.  Its a great dish that is simple to make, yet everyone loves and impressive enough for surprise company.  You can also add chicken for a non-vegetarian option that then becomes a main entree.  Or do it as a vegetarian entree and add additional veggies as desired.  I personally make the base recipe below, but then usually add some sliced roasted red peppers and sliced black olives and a few zucchini slices to the hot pasta, and that is absolutely delicious and filling.  I know its a simple recipe, but there is so much that you can do with it and so many different variations to find whatever really makes your taste buds go wild.

Meatless Monday Pesto

4 cups washed, torn basil leaves (try to omit stems)
3 garlic cloves, halved
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
hot, cooked spaghetti
Combine all ingredients BUT the pasta together in the blender or food processor, and blend till it has a smooth consistency, it should coat the back of a spoon.  Serve immediately over hot pasta, garnish with additional cheese and basil leaves if desired.

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