Everything But The…Pesto

So, I won’t be making candy cane kiss cookies for my co-workers.  I sort of had a hunch that would happen.

I have now consumed two entire bags of these delicious, addictive, terrible-for-you candy cane kisses.  My only hope is that this will now hold off my insatiable craving until next year’s holiday season.  My co-workers will be getting pumpkin bread instead, the recipe for which I will not be posting here, as I rely heavily on a Trader Joe’s mix (sssh).

While that bakes, I’m hungry for dinner.  And there are a lot of leftovers – not all of them pulled chicken – in the fridge.  I’m talking broccoli, not just tired but exhausted looking herbs, and zested lemons.  This will all go bad in a few days…which means it’s food processor time.

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Pesto

  • whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2-3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup basil
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, stems included
  • 1 cup arugula (both for the peppery taste and to offset the very tired basil’s color!)
  • about 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as you see fit
  • 3 garlic cloves (let’s be honest, I used more than that, but I guess not everyone is into that sort of thing)
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 big handful Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • crushed red pepper
  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta according to directions.  Drain, reserving at least one cup of the starchy water.
  2. Microwave your broccoli florets for 2-3 minutes.  Combine broccoli and the rest of the ingredients (through crushed red pepper) in a food processor and pulse until it starts to resemble a sauce.
  3. Slowly add the reserved pasta water and keep pulsing until sauce gets to your desired consistency.
  4. Don’t be fooled: this is not an exact science, or an exact recipe.  Keep playing with the ingredients until the pesto tastes right – more salt? more olive oil? more cheese? – to you.  Serve, well mixed, with pasta.
fighting off all the vampires tonight.
fighting off all the vampires tonight.

The Verdict:

This is a go-to for using up leftover vegetables and herbs.  You can make with almost any combination of things you have already in your fridge, and if you don’t use too much olive oil (or cheese), it actually feels like you’re doing ok health-wise.  You can also freeze pesto – pop it into a ziploc bag, snip off one corner, squeeze into ice cube trays, and cover with saran wrap.  That way, you can use one (or two, or three) cubes without having to chip it off a frozen solid block.  Presto pesto.


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planning, cooking, eating and repeating.

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