Saturday, March 13, 2010

At least for the moment

I can already hear you all out there, sighing.

It's been almost two months since you've posted that rich chocolate cake, and now you return with...vegetables? Seriously??

I know, I know. Broccoli pesto might not seem like the most thrilling of dishes...not the sexiest, food porniest thing with which I could return after my lengthy cooking and blogging hiatus. But what can I say? I have broccoli in the fridge and a craving in my mind, and if there's anything I'm learning from being pregnant, it's listen to those cravings.

Yes, you read that right. I am expecting. Hence the whole hiatus -- I haven't had the energy or desire to eat, let alone cook, let alone be creative in the kitchen. But as the constant nagging illness and exhaustion make way for what I pray is an easier few months ahead, I find myself ready to get back to (modest) culinary work. My first task: transforming those green florets in the crisper drawer into a pleasing riff on pesto.

And though he's been an absolute dear over these past four months -- cooking for me when I wanted to eat, running out to the store to buy me grapes, doing the dishes, baking me chocolate chip cookies at the drop of a hat, not complaining when I wanted to go to bed at 8:15 instead of play The Beatles: Rock Band -- I'm hoping Husband will appreciate that I'm cooking dinner for him tonight. Thanks to some recent warmer weather and some rain today, the blanket of snow that's been covering our world since Christmas is finally gone. Clearly, hell has frozen over. And I'm ready to cook again.

At least for the moment. We'll see how tomorrow goes.


Adapted from Kitchenist

It is not at all necessary to serve this simple pesto over pasta. I can think of lots of things to do with it: serve it atop a grilled or pan-fried chicken breast; mix it with cold pasta, kalamata olives, fresh tomatoes and some bright fresh herbs for pasta salad; serve it, room temperature, as a spread for a homemade crusty loaf of bread, warm from the oven.

That said, I do like it quite a lot served over pasta. To do so, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook 1 pound of pasta according to the package directions to al dente. Drain pasta, reserving a few cups of the starchy pasta cooking water. Toss the pasta with about 1 cup of the broccoli pesto, adding a ladle or two of the pasta cooking water to transform the pesto into a creamy sauce.

1 head of broccoli (about 2 1/2 c. florets and tender stems)
1/2 c. walnuts, almonds or pine nuts (or a mix), toasted
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1/3 c. grated Pecorino cheese
4 oz. feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 c. olive oil
Pinch sea salt

Cook the broccoli florets either by blanching them in a pot of boiling water for 3-4 minutes or steaming them in a vegetable steamer for 4-5 minutes. Rinse immediately with cold water to stop the cooking process; drain, and set aside to cool.

Place the cooked, cooled florets in the bowl of a food processor with all the remaining ingredients, except the olive oil and sea salt. Process until the broccoli is chopped into fine pieces, then drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is well combined and smooth. Taste for seasoning, then add sea salt if desired.

Makes about 2 cups of pesto, which will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days and in the freezer for at least a month.


Previously, on A Stove With A House Around It:

One year ago: spinach lasagna
Two years ago: Italian wedding soup

1 comment:

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Congratulations! Can't think of a better excuse for a blogging break.