Friday, July 07, 2006

Pesto Brown Rice

My favorite summer scent is: BASIL

It just love it. It smells so fresh and natural. I don't even know how to describe it. I bought a big bunch at the market. It was so fresh and cheap too, only $1.59.

I didn't really have a recipe in mind when I bought it, but when I got it home the first thing I thought of was pesto.

I used a different recipe than usual. It came from Cook's Country Magazine recipe contest winner, Elaine Sweet of Dallas Texas.

Garden Pesto Sauce
Makes enough to sauce 2 pounds of pasta
This sauce is quite thick, so be sure to reserve some of the pasta cooking water to thin it out.

1/3 cup silvered almonds, toasted (I omitted these)
2 cups packed fresh basil
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
1 pound plum tomatoes, cored & seeded (I used less)
1/4 cup drained capers
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed & drained (I omitted these)
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I omitted this)
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Cheese (I used 1/2 pecorino & 1/2 parmesan)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

1. Pulse almonds in food processor or blender until finely chopped. Add basil, parsley, tomatoes, capers, anchovies, garlic, red pepper flakes, and pecorino and blend until smooth. With machine running, add lemon juice, then add oil in steady stream until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Toss pesto with cooked pasta and reserved pasta cooking water, if necessary and serve.

The other thing I did differently was to mix in the cheese after everything was completely processed. I got this tip from Giada DE Laurentiis. She said that if you process the cheese, it heats up and loses its true flavor. I don't know if I would even notice the difference, but I figured why not keep it as fresh as possible.

This sauce was good, however, I think I prefer the basic basil pesto that I'm used too. I can't be really sure though because I used it on brown rice which has a much different flavor and texture than pasta. I did freeze a portion of it, so I'll have to try it on pasta and see what the verdict is then.
Also, because I didn't have almonds or anchovies on hand I omitted them and I wonder if this made a big difference in flavor. I would guess that it did. Maybe I should have waited to make this recipe until I had all the ingredients. Oh well, there's always next time.

Do you ever change a recipe because you don't have all the ingredients? Are the results good or bad or somewhere in between?


The Cookbook Junkie said...

I have real 'issues' with recipes. I did most of the cooking for my family growing up but my mom still bought the groceries and told me what to make. Sometimes she would leave a recipe as a guideline but I swear, sometimes I only had one ingredient to work with and she would tell me to substitute or leave out just about everything else! So I prefer to follow recipes as closely as possible. Sometimes I can't bring myself to change anything, even when I know I should, although other times I make substitutions without a thought (a bit of my mother coming out in me, I guess). One silly thing that bothers me is not using the pasta shape that is called for in a recipe. It doesn't bother me when other people do it, I just have a lot of trouble doing it myself.

So yeah, I do sometimes change a recipe but it bothers me.

Annie said...

Paula, That's so funny. I thought I was bad. I can't imagine having a recipe and only one ingredient to work with! I guess it made you pretty inventive though.
My problem is that I don't check my pantry before starting a recipe.
Changing pasta shapes does'nt bother me as long as it is the right shape for the sauce.