Wednesday, November 03, 2010


In North Texas, our average first frost is around November 15, but already the nights are getting cool. It could creep up on us anytime, so last night I harvested my basil and made my annual batch of pesto. It's easy but takes longer than you think. I cobbled together a recipe from several sources and came up with this:
2 c. basil, packed
1/2 c. olive oil
1/2 c. Parmesan, grated
1/3 c. chopped pecans (pine nuts are traditional, but this is Texas, and we have lots of pecans)
3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
lime juice to taste - I think I used two small limes
Put it all in the food processor and blend until it's smooth. Spoon into plastic ice cube trays. A couple of years ago I had the happy idea that I could just twist the trays and the pesto cubes would pop out, so I could put them in a baggie in the freezer. Doesn't work that way. You have to pry each one out carefully, using a table knife.
Once in the freezer, they're handy for all kinds of things. My family likes it when I split a large block of cream cheese lengthwise, spread  half with pesto (defrosted) and plop the other half back on. It's also a great treat spread over goat cheese, or drop a melted cube in the middle of a bowl of hummus. Throw it in soups, stews, etc.
For years I have fixed what my family calls green noodles. This idea came from a former sister-in-law, who was expecting my brother for supper and had no money for groceries, so she used what she had: pasta, butter and lemon. Over the years I've embellished it, but I'm hard put to give quantities.
One package of spinach fettucine, cooked
One stick butter (Megan used to claim that was way too much but she's fat conscious; don't use maragarine)
1 can chopped artichoke hearts
Lots of lemon juice
Sliced mushrooms (they soak up the lemon in a delicioius way)
Sliced scallions
Parmesan cheese
And in recent years I've thrown in a cube of pesto.
Makes one of the best pasta dishes I've ever had. Enjoy!

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