Foolproof Three Herb Pesto
(for the thrify and/or recipe impaired)
Note: If you’re like that 50 Shades of Grey babe and just like to be ordered around, skip all the parenthetical notes. You have enough issues; you don’t need to be exposed to the inner workings of my brain.
- 1 bunch basil
- 1 bag spinach (Because it’s much cheaper than basil and I promise will work fine in this recipe. Hey, Anastasia: you can trust me.)
- 1 bunch cilantro (If you hate cilantro, use 2 bunches of basil, or use arugula. You can’t mess this recipe up, unless you throw in some poison ivy.)
- 4 cloves garlic (or fewer, if you’re garlic-averse. I actually used five HUGE cloves. And now I’m close talking and breathing on you.)
- ½ cup grated parmesan or romano cheese (not the green can of powdered vomit; I don’t care if you grew up with it, use fresh. And you can use a whole cup. I was trying to cut calories a bit.)
- ½ cup olive oil (Up to a cup is fine, actually, depending on the texture you like.)
- ½ cup of walnuts (Pine nuts are supposed to be used, but have you seen what they charge for those bastards? Walnuts give the pesto the same creamy texture for a lot less money. I used a “big handful;” a half cup’s my guess. We’re very precise here in the Kablooey kitchen. No wonder the Food Network keeps overlooking me for a show.)
- salt and pepper to taste
- optional: a half lemon’s worth of juice (provides a little brightness; cuts through the richness of the sauce a bit.)
- Pull the leaves off the cilantro and any big stems off the basil. Don’t drive yourself crazy here; a couple of chopped up stems won’t hurt the dish at all.
- Wash and dry the greens and herbs. You can throw all leaves into a big bowl of water, swish them around for a bit with some vegetable wash, then let the dirt settle to the bottom of the bowl. Lift up leaves and dry in salad spinner (Or, if you are like me and can’t be bothered finding the damn spinner, just use paper towels.) ((And if you’re really like me, and pressed for time, skip the washing. Live on the edge, baby.))
- Smash garlic cloves with side of big knife. I chopped it, but didn’t have to, since it’s going in food processor in a minute. (Whenever I cut garlic, I’m haunted by That awesome garlic slicing scene from Goodfellas where Ray Liotta says in voice-over as we watch Paul Sorvino shave translucent slices of garlic with a razor blade:
I have never seen a garlic shaving liquify in hot oil, but if I ever write a culinary bucket list, it’s going on there. When I do it, my nails are going to be a bit cleaner than Paulie’s, though.)
- Put greens, walnuts, garlic, cheese, lemon juice, a few grinds of black pepper in food processor and pulse until blended. You can make it as chunky or smooth as you like. I went kind of smooth, since I was hiding how much garlic I used from the “what’s this lumpy thing” contingent of the family.
- Drizzle in olive oil until a thick, creamy pesto is formed. (I’m impatient and drizzled for about three seconds, then poured the oil in. Honestly, you can’t tell the difference.)
- Add salt to taste. I added a few pinches of sea salt.
Serve mixed with pasta, add to sandwiches, soups, on baguette slices with good tomatoes and fresh mozzerella, add to chicken or tuna salad, eat with a spoon. I made a pasta salad with shrimp, roasted tomatoes and a little goat cheese mixed in. Awesome.
One note: The pesto is a gorgeous bright green until it hits hot food. Then it darkens, but still tastes delicious.
Another note: Anastasia Steele. Admit it: that’s not your real name.
K A B L O O E Y
K A B L O O E Y is a 47 year old non-practicing filmmaker who lives with Phineas at an undisclosed suburban location. Their three kids are Moochie (6), Lonzie (20) and The Big Puppy (22). She (who am I kidding, I’m writing this myself) tweets @kblooey and has two goals: 1) To make creative work a central part of my life, and 2) To keep my family from needing the services of the Supernanny.