Saturday, June 15, 2013

Pesto Valentino

There's something to be said for a dish made from ingredients which were still in the ground at the start of the recipe. I'm talking about fresh-from-the-garden herbs.  I'm talking about magic, green magic.

If you have any outdoor space at all that receives any decent amount of sunshine during the day, you owe it to yourself to get some herbs in some dirt before the end of this sentence.

I had the good fortune to stumble upon a certain variety of basil a few weeks ago called ValentinoIt is now soaking up the rays in a big pot on the deck. Large, green, puckered leaves of the most aromatic nature.  Very, very basil-y.  Like what I remember smelling in Italy. Every basil hereto forth will now be compared to this basil, and it will probably come up short.

I started with Valentino, but to truly amplify the magic I add more green, in the way of fresh oregano and lemon balm. These are also sunning themselves on the deck.  And then I added garlic and olive oil and Parm cheese and, yes, we're talking pesto but really it's magic. I wish there was a scratch and sniff button here for your sake. Do you really need a recipe, no you just need some dirt. But just in case...

pesto Valentino

1 cup fresh picked herbs (mostly Valentino basil)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon pine nuts, plus more for garnish

Put everything in the food processor and pulse until chunky-smooth. For pasta, or crostini, or mix with mayo for sandwiches or anything else you can think of.  I just tossed it with some tortellini and called it a day.

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