Have I mentioned how much I wish I had a garden? Granted, in this fantasy world garden I would have, it would come with my father to plant and maintain the garden so that at any point I could wander out there and pick fresh herbs and vegetables. I’m sure that I wouldn’t have the dedication that he always has to work in the garden (although perhaps maybe I would acquire such dedication, but it’s unlikely). Since I don’t have my father out there pulling weeds, building nets to keep birds out and otherwise being a gardener, I must be content to farm a few herbs in my hydroponic aero-garden and the window box into which mature herbs are transferred.
Several weeks ago I made about a half cup of pure basil pesto which I used on bruschetta, which was simply delicious. Unfortunately, my one little basil plant can only grow so much basil and can only produce so many leaves. So I have to figure out other ways around my pesto fixation. This time, in addition to basil, I added spinach to the mix. Equal parts basil and spinach, plus pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic and a little salt. The flavor isn’t quite as bright as the pure basil pesto, but it was very good even so. I forgot to toast the pine nuts, which I’m sure would bump up the taste factor, but short of having a ton of fresh basil handy, this is a great option to stretch what basil you do have.
Spinach and Basil Pesto Recipe
1 packed cup of spinach leaves
1 packed cup of basil leaves (stems removed)
2 cloves of garlic, rough chopped
1/4 cup of pine nuts
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup good olive oil (plus maybe a little more)
Pinch of salt
Pulse the greens in a food processor or blender until roughly chopped. Add in the garlic, pine nuts and cheese and pulse until finely chopped. Drizzle in the olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. I like it nice and creamy. Depending on the amount of basil and spinach used you may need more or less oil. Add a pinch of salt if necessary. Store with a thin film of oil on top and plastic wrap pressed onto the surface of the pesto to keep it from turning brown.
Note: Any of these measurements can be altered to fit your particular taste. Want a more herby flavor, add more greens and less nuts. Want it to be creamier? Add more cheese. Toast your pine nuts to get an even stronger flavor.
Next up on my pesto trials will be to switch out the pine nuts with walnuts. I know, I’m going all crazytown up in here.