Monday, August 18, 2008

Pumpkin seed pesto

Tonight's Menu

  • penne with pumpkin seed pesto
  • green salad "bar"
I have a complicated relationship with basil, y'all. I love the way it tastes and I love having a supply of fresh basil in-season, but I have a horrible time growing it. I don't know what it is, but sweet basil HATES me. Whenever I plant it, either something eats it all or it dies within a week.

However, my parents bought me a plant this summer that was called Pesto Basil and I've had a great deal of success with that one, finally! It has smaller leaves than sweet basil and they're sort of variegated light green and white. I planted it in my garden instead of in a pot and it's done really well. With summer drawing to a close I've been worried about losing it all and decided that the thing to do was make pesto with it. However, as you know, the girl is allergic to tree nuts so pine nuts are out. I googled for nut-free pesto recipes and found several that featured various types of seeds instead of nuts -- why didn't I think of that?! We know she isn't allergic to pumpkin seeds (we always roast them after carving jack o' lanterns and she pretty much eats her weight in them) so I bought some raw ones in bulk and set to work.

I wasn't really measuring but here's approximately how I made it:

2 cups basil leaves
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese (NOT the stuff in the green can)
extra-virgin olive oil

Dump the first four ingredients into the food processor and whiz them until blended. Then, with the processor running, drizzle in the EVOO until the pesto is to the consistency you like. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. (I've heard it helps to cover the pesto with a layer of olive oil before storing it, so that's what I did.)

I served it with penne pasta (dried, prepared according to package directions) and it was really good! The pumpkin seeds give it a slightly different flavor from pine nuts, but the texture is the same. I used CSA garlic to make it and it was REALLY strong so I'm going to have garlic breath for a week, but it was worth it!

Tonight's salad "bar" was torn green leaf lettuce, shredded carrots, and wedged tomatoes.

1 comment:

Poppy Buxom said...

I think I have the same basil plant. It's really pretty! So pretty that I haven't actually eaten any of the leaves.