Pesto, Two Ways

18Aug09

Pestos_plated

When I left the food shoot last Monday I came home with not only leftover desserts, but a whole bunch of fresh mint, originally intended for garnish! I started digging around for recipes, and that’s when I made the lamb/mint pizza. Well that used about 10% of the mint I brought home so I knew I needed to find a recipe that used a LOT of mint. See what I was working with: (looks pretty great for a week later! Snip the ends when you get it home – just like flowers – and store wrapped in a wet paper towel and sealed in a Ziploc bag in your veggie drawer.)

Pestos_mint

Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of mint-rich recipes out there, but I did come across an idea for mint pesto, using cashews and ginger as the flavor pairings. It turned out to be a perfect way to use that mint! Very tasty and more savory than I was expecting. It was actually a perfect compliment for the whole wheat tortellini I topped with it. Of course, with a dish as simple as pasta and pesto, I needed a way to complicate things and therefor decided to make a traditional pesto at the same time. For comparison! For the vastly different flavors used in each dish, they tasted surprisingly similar. Something about the garlic and olive oil paired with the pesto texture just communicates a certain taste. Eaten side by side on pasta they seemed as though they belonged together. Eaten alone on a spoon, however, was the real way to enjoy them! In the opening photo, the mint is on the left, basil on the right. Below, the ingredient pairings. Top row, mint pesto, bottom row, classic basil pesto.

Pestos_ingredients

Mint Pesto (makes enough to sauce 1 lb of pasta)
2 cups firmly packed Mint
1/3 cup Cashews, salted
2 Tbsp Ginger, minced
2 cloves Garlic, mashed
1/4 – 1/2 cup Olive Oil (use the good stuff)
S&P

Classic Pesto (makes enough to sauce 1 lb of pasta)
2 cups firmly packed Basil
1/3 cup Pine Nuts (Pignoles)
1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan
2 cloves Garlic, smashed
1/4 – 1/2 cup Olive Oil (use the good stuff)
S&P

Blend ingredients for one pesto at a time in a food processor, drizzling the oil as the blade is running. When texture is how you like it, stop drizzling. For the mint pesto, combine with a spoonful of yogurt or sour cream before serving, for added creaminess. Toss with pasta and serve with extra parmesan for sprinkling. Try a side-by-side comparison! I think you’ll like it!

PS – When eating this at the office the next day for lunch, be prepared for 85% of the people you work with to stop and say “mmmm! what’s that smell?? that smells great!”

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7 Responses to “Pesto, Two Ways”

  1. Yum! Those look delish!

  2. Mint pesto? great idea. Now if I could find a way to use all this sage I have….

  3. first time here..u have got a really beautiful space here with some awesome recipes…

  4. 4 katemotter

    Thanks everyone! Otehlia – the Sage at home is like a weed! Overtaking the garden! If you find anything, let me know ;-)

  5. This is wonderful! My mint is taking over my backyard and I am always looking for new pesto recipes. Thanks!


  1. 1 Pesto Passion « Explore and Eat
  2. 2 A Mountain of Mint « Shaecation

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