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Entries in pesto (3)

Friday
Jul192013

July Slice of the Month - Fig & Pesto Picnic Pizza

We are all of us melting here on the East Coast (and beyond) in a heat wave. It is July. This stuff happens. However, don't let it happen to your pizza. Melted cheese = good. Flopping, listless pizza with frizzy hair and disengaged toppings = bad.

This has not happened to you? Clearly, you do not eat enough pizza in the mid summer sun's direct light.

Picture yourself in a bucolic field, surrounded by daisies, tweeting birds and copious amounts of sunshine. You have just produced a picnic basket of epic proportions and your companion looks on, eagerly anticipating the delicious contents. As you pull napkins, utensils and other non-perishables from it's wickery depths, you reach for the pizza, when - GASP! - you realize it has dematerialized into something resembling the Wicked Witch of the West at ending credits. Hmmm.

Time to rethink everything. 

To combat this all-to-prevalent problem, I present you with PICNIC PIZZA (did you hear an echo?). This is thick crust pizza at it's best, stuffed with an assortment of the high summer fruit, figs, jammed with ricotta cheese and prosciutto, and slathered in arugula pesto. You keep the pesto in a jar and slather on-site to reduce transport-related mess.

Genius, no? YES!

You should make some. In order to do so, head on over to Colavita's Facebook Page, like them and download the cookbook. You will find:

1. Instructions on toppings and assembly

2. A thick crust pizza recipe

3. An arugula pesto recipe


4. The photographical stylings of yours truly.

Go do it!! You've got a weekend ahead!

Friday
Mar152013

St. Patty's Pesto

Happy St. Patrick's Day! As an Italian girl, I never got into wearing green, or sporting decorative shamrocks. So what do I to celebrate this holiday? I like to jump on board in a way that suits me...because I have many Irish friends, and I love them like an Italian girl loves...pesto.

Pesto? Yes, pesto. I choose to eat green, instead of wearing it. So today, I'm bringing you three (yes three - like a shamrock!) pesto recipes: a traditional Basil and Pine Nut, an Arugula and Pistachio (my favorite) and an unlikely Parsley and Walnut (mild and nutty).

And for a healthier version, you can leave out the Parmesan cheese, as you don't really need it. Taste as you go, however, Parmesan is a salty cheese so by leaving it out, you may want to add a bit more salt.

 

Let's get started:

Basil and Pine Nut Pesto

What you Need:

1 large bunch fresh basil
2 cloves garlic (optional, unless you feel like breathing fire for the day)
Extra Virgin olive oil - about a half a cup, but you might want to use more or less
Grated Parmesan cheese - about 3/4 cup
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup pine nuts

What To Do:
Place the basil, garlic (if using) and half the olive oil in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to process finely. Check the consistency. You will most likely need to add a bit more oil (throw in the rest). Now, add the cheese (if using), pine nuts, salt and pepper. Give it a few more twirls in the processor and check both the consistency and taste. Is it dry? If so, add more oil. You can also add more salt, pepper or cheese if you feel it's necessary. 

Scoop the entire mixture into a bowl and drizzle a blanket of olive oil over the top. You can either serve immediately on some toasted bread or you can stick it in the fridge and save it for later.

Arugula and Pistachio Pesto

What You Need:

1 package arugula
Extra Virgin olive oil - about a half a cup, but you might want to use more or less
Grated Parmesan cheese - about 3/4 cup (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup pistachios (shelled and unsalted)

What To Do:
Place the arugula, and half the olive oil in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to process finely. Check the consistency. You will most likely need to add a bit more oil (throw in the rest). Now, add the cheese (if using), pistachios, salt and pepper. Give it a few more twirls in the processor and check both the consistency and taste. Is it dry? If so, add more oil. You can also add more salt, pepper or cheese if you feel it's necessary. 

Scoop the entire mixture into a bowl and drizzle a blanket of olive oil over the top. You can either serve immediately on some toasted bread or you can stick it in the fridge and save it for later.

Parsley and Walnut Pesto

What You Need:

1 large bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley (as opposed to the curly kind)
Extra Virgin olive oil - about a half a cup, but you might want to use more or less
Grated Parmesan cheese - about 3/4 cup (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup walnuts

What To Do:
Place the parsley, and half the olive oil in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse to process finely. Check the consistency. You will most likely need to add a bit more oil (throw in the rest). Now, add the cheese (if using), walnuts, salt and pepper. Give it a few more twirls in the processor and check both the consistency and taste. Is it dry? If so, add more oil. You can also add more salt, pepper or cheese if you feel it's necessary. 

Scoop the entire mixture into a bowl and drizzle a blanket of olive oil over the top. You can either serve immediately on some toasted bread or you can stick it in the fridge and save it for later.

Now, you may be thinking, what do I do with all this pesto? It's a fair question. Here are my suggestions:

1. Top a breakfast pizza with it, like this one.

2. Add to pasta with roasted tomatoes for dinner.

3. Scramble your morning eggs with it, along with some sun dried tomatoes.

4. Slather it on some toasted bread (we like to call this "bruschetta).

5. Bathroom tile caulking*

6. Face mask*

7. Wet suit lube*

* Numbers 5, 6, 7 are not really recommended uses, but give them a shot and let me know what happens...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday
Jan162012

Roasted Garlic and Parsley Pesto

Over the weekend I intended to make some hummus. Fava bean hummus with rosemary to be exact. I've done it before and it's fantastic. I dip huge chunks of fennel in it.

But....there's always a but, isn't there? Well, the fava beans went bad. Very bad. The kind of bad that makes you think, how can this happen to a bean?

As I was erasing all evidence of outlaw fava beans (and watching Sons of Anarchy), I thought what now? I've got all this ammo and no one to shoot! No wait, I mean I've got all this....oh you get it.

In fact this is what I had:

1 lemon
1 head of garlic
fresh rosemary
fresh Italian parsley
pine nuts

I stared at the head of garlic, contemplating the possibilities. The garlic regarded me peacefully....willing me to ROAST IT.

So I did. And then I threw it in the food processor with the above ingredients, olive oil, salt and pepper and smeared it ALL over that prosciutto bread from Madonia Brothers Bakery and called myself a genius.

Because I was. And you will be too if you can follow these simple instructions:

What You Need:
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 head of garlic, roasted (roasting instructions listed here)
fresh rosemary (as much as you want, I used about 1 tablespoon chopped)
fresh Italian parsley (I used an entire bunch, about 1 cup chopped)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup olive oil (more if you think you need it)
salt and pepper to taste

What To Do:

Squeeze the freshly roasted garlic insides out of their papery wrappers and into a food processor or blender.

Add the lemon juice and all the remaining ingredients.

Whirl it around until a nice paste forms.

Give it a taste to see if you've seasoned appropriately. At this point you can add either salt, pepper, olive oil or all three.

Throw it on some toasted bread wedges, put some Sons of Anarchy DVDs in and have yourself a party.