A quick whiz in the food processor until it all comes together, then some salt and pepper, but something was missing. Bittman mentions that he needed to add lemon, and since I had a beautiful lemon from a friend's backyard I added both lemon zest and lemon juice.
The result was great, while it missed the first bite flavor punch that your traditional pesto packs, it had a sublime quality, green and fresh and pretty wonderful.
Trying to keep the carbs down I made ricotta gnocchi, cute to look at but I think I had too little ricotta and too much flour for a pretty heavy dumpling. Not bad, just not something to write home about. And even less something to blog about.
Putting it all together: Finally, after spending my twenties making either really dry or really oily pasta with pesto, I cooked pesto with an Italian. You'll probably all shake your heads that I didn't know these tricks, but I'm a German, what do I know about pasta? The tricks I learned were:
- Cut up a potato in 1/2" cubes, and cook it with the pasta.
- Save some of your pasta water to thin down the pesto.
- Heat the pesto in the pasta pot while the pasta is draining, and thin it to a nice saucy consistency with the saved pasta water.
In the US, it seems popular to thin the pesto down with cream, but imho there is enough fat in the pesto already, and the cream tends to hide flavors - not my favorite thing with pesto.
I mix the pasta with the pesto in the pot. If you used the potato, that goes in with it, it'll almost completely melt into the sauce and give it a very nice consistency and flavor. Try it one of these days. I know it sounds odd...
So here they are, a great little lunch! Some cut up arugula on top, then some more pecorino and ground black pepper - yum!
Really, no recipe. In my opinion, pesto is a great opportunity to play with tastes. Just take the basics: some herbs (or asparagus), nuts, hard, salty cheese, and really good EVOO. Put in the mortar (for traditionalists) or a little food processor and off you go. If it needs punch when you taste it just adjust with salt and pepper, and perhaps a little lemon juice.
I've made crazy pestos like cilantro hazelnut, I've added chiles, I've used pumpkin seed in lieu of nuts, it always comes out good!
My new favorite wine bar in town serves something really close in taste as a crostini: Take a slice of bread, toast it, put a slice of cheese on (manchego would work well, or ricotta salate), and then spread some of the pesto on it. Charge 2 bucks.
I should make hubby pay me for dinner tonight!