I have a confession to make, so please brace yourself.
Every single day. In a myriad of ways. With wild abandon, and not a hint of remorse.
But not on my taxes, and not on my husband.
I cheat in the kitchen.
Life is a full, crazy, and unpredictable ol’ thing. Mine no less than anyone elses. Once upon a time, I stayed at home, and had plenty of time to slave over that hot hob on complicated and perfect meals. Basically, I was in the habit of spoiling my hubbie and kids rotten. Now that I am working again, I have less time to do so, but I still want to keep the standards high. I do have a certain reputation to uphold, after all.
There are some days that I find my dining table has had a revolving door attached to it. Mondays are particularly hideous. Between picking up extra kids, snack time, tutoring, picking up more kids, schlepping them around to Cubs and gymnastics, by the time we eat, it’s 8pm, and I can barely muster the energy to boil water.
But you see, I am a cheater, so all is not lost. Admittedly, cheating requires some planning, but it does save the (long) day. My best, and most cherished cheat is the glorious, versatile and damn tasty PESTO.
I make a big pot of it once every ten days or so, and it allows me to feel satisfyingly smug that I have not fallen down on the job. Now, this green goodness is not just for pasta, oh no! I slap it on cod and bake it, cook up chicken breast and toss it about, use it on a tart base with some goats cheese and artichokes…..Getting the idea? Hello, versatile!
There are not really any hard and fast rules with this…You like a little less garlic? Cut down the garlic! Not a fan of pine nuts? Use walnuts instead. The point is, it is one of those things that, with some imagination, can get you through a tough day.
You will need a food processor of some sort, and a sterilized jar.
Fresh basil, 100g
pine nuts, approx 75g
grated parmesan, approx 75g
garlic, one clove, crushed
olive oil, 175 ml
sea salt, a mighty pinch
Now, this is probably one of the simplest things around. Grab a pan to toast your pine nuts. On medium heat, brown those babies. It takes them a bit to get started, but once they start to toast, stir/flip them in the pan, and keep a close eye as they will burn pretty fast. Pop them aside, and sort the rest.
Wash and shake off your basil. I use the whole thing, including the stalks. Just bend them into the processor’s bowl. Pour in the oil, toss in the rest of the ingredients, including your slightly cooled pine nuts. Now get whizzing. How much depends on your texture preference. We like ours pretty smooth, but sometimes it is slightly crunchier than others. That’s just how things roll. Now, boil that water, or turn on the oven, or just chuck some on some leftovers…(my boy likes it mixed into rice, actually!)
Let me know how you get on, and send on any pictures of your creations!