Pesto has got to be one of the tastiest things. Ever. I know not everybody will agree with that statement, and that will just have to be ok.
Pesto is easy to make, and is one of the things that makes joining a CSA totally worth it – aside from the cost, supporting local farms, and fresh veggies brought to a single location for you to either pick over or just pick up.
Basil pesto is probably my absolute favorite, but you don’t NEED basil to make a good pesto. For serious, that might sound like crazytalk, but bear with me.
I made this Arugula and Garlic Scape pesto the first week we got our CSA share.
Sometimes I feel totally overwhelmed by my CSA share, but it helps to divvy it up with a friend, and also try different things and empty the crisper drawer into prepared foods early on.
Pesto is one of the easiest ways I’ve found to take the pressure off using up all these fresh veggies before they go bad, and before the next set comes in. Especially since my Aunty Cathy got me a big girl food processor, which blows my teensy weensy one (2 cup?) outta the water…
- arugula and garlic scape pesto
in a food processor
4 cups arugula (I used store bought, and fresh from the CSA combined- you can tell which one is fresh and which one is all dried out, eek!)
garlic scapes, cut rough
grated parmesan cheese (freshly grated or store bought, whichever you have)
1/4 cup Pine nuts* (or walnuts)
Squeeze a bit of lemon juice out of a lemon and mix in with olive oil
Put garlic or garlic scapes in food processor with arugula- pulse til combined, but not smooth. 1-2 mins.
Add your but of choice, and cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse til combined, while doing so add olive oil til smooth.
Taste the pesto while it’s still easy to alter (read: still in food processor) and add a bit more of whatever you think it needs.
I love pesto on fresh pasta, store bought pasta, bread, toasted bread, crostini, eat it warm, or cold… and it’s really quick and easy.
It keeps well in an air tight container in the fridge for a few (5?) days, and freezes* well. I divided this into two cups and froze one.
Pine Nuts: they may seem expensive, and in fact, they are. I buy them rarely, and keep them in the freezer til I use them. I hardly ever use them for anything besides pesto, so they last me quite a long time.
Loads of people use walnuts for making pesto, they are cheaper and easier to find in your grocery store, but a lot more people are allergic to walnuts than pine nuts – myself included.
I find that even though the price isn’t bad at Trader Joe’s for pine nuts they have a very bitter taste to them. I’m not the only one who thinks this either…
I’ve been using nature’s origional brand which after a TON of searching I finally asked a lady at Market Basket and she brought me right to them. She also was knowledgable to tell me they sold two different kinds and which tasted better and what the price difference was. Holy crap! I had spent a great deal of time underestimating the employees at Market Basket, why? Cause it looks and feels like a shitshow half the time. Turns out that’s US, the customers, not the employees…
*Freezing Pesto: It has been argued that you should blanch the greens before you make the pesto, this helps take the garlic taste down if you are ONLY using garlic scapes and no other greens. I feel like a little lemon juice works fine to keep the color, but I also
don’t try get to store it for that long before using it, as I have a healthy appetite for pesto…