I was clicking around on the Nums the other day, and I noticed an unfulfilled promise I made back on St. Patty’s Day about a pesto recipe. As a person who places unreasonable stock in that holiday, my “luck of the Irish” will be totally whacked if I don’t rectify this, so that’s what I’m doing here.
As the title would imply, this is Ina Garten’s recipe, and aside from the usual seasoning to taste, it needs no modification. It’s a great basic pesto recipe, and The Chef can attest to the fact that I waxed dramatic about how easy and completely worth it it is to make this rather than buying the jarred stuff. (I know that’s supposed to be obvious, but sometimes you need something like this or Batali’s Basic Marinara Sauce to reteach you that fact.)
Also, this freezes incredibly well, so make a bunch for your long-term carbo needs.
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts*
3 tbsp chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1.5 cups good olive oil
1 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
Place the walnuts, pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds.
Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed.
Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
*The time I made this, I was too lazy to brave the psychofest that is the parking situation at midtown Schnuck’s, and I couldn’t find pine nuts at Miss Cordelia’s, so I used all walnuts. It may not feel as fancy, but it tastes just as good.
All pasta recipes are welcome at Nummynumnum but even better if they involve goat cheese. Below is a recipe from good friend Chef Leah. I have a feeling this will be a lot more people’s go to pasta recipe after first try. – ts
Chef Leah says: This is my go-to recipe for when I have someone over for dinner but don’t have a lot of time to prep or cook OR if I am cooking for a picky eater! You can make the sauce while the pasta and meatballs cook and then just toss and serve!
One 4 oz package goat cheese
2 oz fat free cream cheese (about 1/4 of the block)
3 garlic cloves
2-3 fresh basil leaves
1 package baby spinach, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 package fresh pasta (i use fettuccine but you can use anything)
1 package frozen meatballs or turkey meatballs (you can obv make these, but SO much faster not to)
1/2 package cherry tomatoes
- Combine garlic cloves, goat cheese, cream cheese and 3-4 large handfuls of spinach and basil leaves in food processor and blend until creamy and bright green. set aside.
- Cook pasta, heat up meatballs in microwave or skillet, whatever is easier.
- While those are cooking, cut cherry tomatoes in half and put in large serving bowl with remaining spinach. Add cooked meatballs to bowl (i cut mine in 1/4’s), pasta and creamy pesto sauce. Mix, add Parmesan cheese and serve!
Chef Leah’s note: you can also add a cubed block of fresh mozzarella cheese at the end to make even more amazing. The sauce is also delicious on other meats, as a sandwich spread and as a dipping sauce.
Top ‘o the afternoon to ya, Nummy, and a Happy St. Patty’s Day to all!
Did you think we at NNN had forsaken you on the most sacred of all holidays? Well, to be honest, we almost did. Between broken feet and bachelorette parties, green beer has been very low on the list of priorities today, and for that we are appropriately ashamed.
However, in the spirit of going green in the good way (you know, the way that doesn’t require you to start caring about the environment or driving around in a toy car and all that hippie nonsense), here is a recipe that is both simple and green. Jayne Thompson used to make this all the time when we were in middle school, and we would argue over LT’s lunch leftovers because this stuff is just as good cold as hot.
1 jar pesto sauce*
1 jar Italian dressing
2 lbs chicken breast, cut into 2-inch long strips
1 packages angel hair pasta (or any pasta of your choosing)
salt & pepper
- Marinate chicken breast in dressing overnight. (If you don’t have enough time for this step, just marinate as long as you can.)
- Saute chicken in the Italian dressing and drain. Set aside.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and add pesto, chicken, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with salad and crusty bread.
(Or refrigerate overnight and pack some in your lunchbox. It’s even better the next day, and you will definitely be the envy of everyone in the caf. Salty goodness.)
*If you are a purist, do not fret – we have a great pesto recipe coming soon. Ina Garten represent!
The Chef likes to experiment… wait, that sounds wrong. What I mean to say is that he doesn’t like to cook the same thing twice. Unfortunately he is SOL when it comes to these taters because they are the bomb. (I’m sorry. That term is stupid and incredibly 1998, but it felt right, so I went with it.)
As Alton Brown would say on the hilariously hosted Iron Chef America, “the chef is here to offer his most succulent variations,” and so it is with Nummy. Here The Chef provides both the basics and some extra jazz for when you’re feeling frisky. My personal favorite is the horseradish, but I can lick a bowl clean no matter what kind is on the menu.
Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
6 Idaho potatoes, peeled
2 cup of half and half
8 tablespoons of unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of wasabi paste*
salt to taste
- Cut potatoes in half and place them in a pot of well-salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife.
- Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.
- In a saucepan, heat butter, half and half, and salt until the butter melts. Pour over potatoes and mash together.
- Gently fold in the wasabi paste*. Season with salt.
*To make the other versions, simply substitute the items below for the wasabi. You’ll want to add them a little at a time until you’ve found the perfect amount for your taste. You can also use unpeeled red potatoes for these recipes for added texture and color.
Rosemary garlic mashed red potatoes
- Rosemary and garlic
- Lemon and thyme
- Goat cheese and chives
- Blue cheese
- Pesto (1 tablespoon)
- Dijon mustard
- Truffle oil
- Roasted garlic
- Horseradish and parmesan
- Cooked crawfish tails
- Fresh dill and sour cream
- Caramelized onions
- Green onions, parsley and capers