Monday, May 14, 2012

Spaghetti with Green Garlic and Basil Pesto

If you don't have Trader Joe's nearby, I'm sorry!  If you do, go get a live basil plant.  When I replanted it, I was happy to discover 4 healthy litle starter plants instead of one like I usually have gotten in the past.  I simply separated them, replanted, pruned off the big leaves (making sure to leave tiny 3-leaved clusters beneath to encourage new growth)and watered.  Now I have healthy plants growing daily and can't wait to have a freezer full of pesto later this summer.

But in looking a the minimal pile of basil leaves, I knew that I didn't have enough to produce regular pesto, but I did have green garlic (Another green garlic recipe) and lemon zest.  So along with a small handful of blanched almonds and cashews (didn't have the typical pine nuts due to price and I felt walnuts would be too heavy), I blended it all with a little lemon juice and olive oil.


A bright, citrusy pesto with Trader Joe's Gluten Free Corn Pasta.  I almost liked this pesto better than the original.  The more distinctly herbal flavor of green garlic along with the lemon zest really lightened it up.  Tossed with a good bit of the pasta water (essential part of true pasta making...always save at least a cup of pasta water before draining pasta to loosen whatever sauce you are tossing with the pasta) and freshly grated parmesan resulted in a creamy, but still not heavy sauce.

Since I'm watching calories, I had a small portion along with some grilled tuna so I wouldn't just eat a giant bowl of pasta (though I could have easily finished the entire dish!)  But this is a GREAT and very fresh Meat-Free Monday recipe!

Though we ate it all, this is definitely a recipe you can multiply and freeze.  Feel free to use it as a finishing sauce for grilled chicken, fish or vegetables for a low-carb meal.  Or toss with white beans or garbanzos for a quick bean salad.

Green Garlic and Basil Pesto
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped green garlic (or 2 cloves regular garlic)
1/4 cup blanched almonds, pistachios, cashews or pecans
zest of 2 small lemons or 1 large
juice of the lemon(s)
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
hot water as needed

In a mini-chopper or blender, pulse the basil, green garlic, nuts and lemon zest. Add the lemon juice and olive oil, then pulse again.  Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon or two of hot water to loosen if the mixture is not blending well. When it is a cohesive paste, it's ready.  Taste and add salt as necessary.

Print Page Copyright 2011 Christi Flaherty, Cook What You've Got

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