Pesto; broccoli – 17 February 2013

I bought a huge bag of basil yesterday – a pound for $5.75 – since we are out of frozen pesto cubes. I thought pesto would make a nice dinner for tonight, and I could make up the whole bag of basil and have pesto in the freezer again for a quick dinner resource. The pesto was good but was somewhat undersalted, which suggests a higher level of parmaggiano would be a good idea. Anyway, here’s what I did:

Peel 6 cloves of garlic (one per cup of basil  good measurement) and drops into a running Cuisinart; run till the garlic is minced.

Measure out 2 1/2 oz parmaggiano (this was intended to be 3/4 cup, which is a 1:8 ratio with the 6 cups more-or-less packed basil leaves; should have added more than this IMO) and toss into the moving Cuisinart; run till finely divided.

Put 6 cups packed basil (washed, spun, and left out to dry at least a bit) and 3/4 cups pine nuts into the cuisinart with the garlic and parmaggiano and spin till thoroughly made into a paste. Add olive oil in a stream while the Cuisinart is running, and stop when a proper texture seemt to have been achieved. This is a lot easier than it sounds, since the “proper texture” could be any of a huge range of textures. It’s easy to add oil later if you add too little.

To finish the pesto story: after dinner I spooned the pesto into an ice cube tray that we use for this purpose, and it just filled the tray. I thought it would make much less than this and I am very pleased 🙂 Tomorrow I will pop the pesto cubes out of the tray and into a good freezer container for future use.

Back to dinner: I cooked up 5 oz spaghetti (Garofalo from Costco) al dente, drained, and served into bowls that I had heated by ladling pasta cooking water into them shortly before the pasta was done. I plotched a glomp of pesto onto each serving, and we mixed it in at the table. This was a bit too much, but extra pesto is good for polishing up with bread. I also steamed a bit of broccoli for 5 minutes, and then reheated in 1 Tbsp butter till the pasta was done (on low, once it was all tossed and buttered – and salted).

I made a new loaf of no-knead bread yesterday, mixing 2 cups of King Arthur blue flour, 1/2 cup each of semolina and King Arthur white whole wheat, 1 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp yeast, and about 1 1/2 cups water, slightly warmed in the microwave. I baked this today, 18 or so hours later, after rounding up the loaf on a cutting board and letting it sit under a towel 2 hours, in the last 30 minutes of which I preheated the oven to 450 with the Dutch oven inside, then cooked the loaf inside the Dutch oven 40 minutes, removed the lid, and cooked another 20 minutes. It turned out very well.

D brought up a new Bordeaux from Trader Joe’s – Chateau Meric Medoc (2010). I was not immediately impressed, but D shook the bottle up (with thumb over the top) and it opened up into a very pleasant wine.

R brought over a banana bread, which we had for dessert boh before and after dinner 🙂

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