Posted on September 19, 2014 by Viji
This could be the last pick of the basil leaves for the season, the signs of the cold nights are already visible on these fresh green leaves. Oh! I am going to miss them totally until next spring; that is how much I depended on them through out this hectic summer.
From early morning till late night, it was all about driving Maanas from one activity to the other; that is how he likes his summer, totally packed. And how much ever I planned, there were days when a meal had to be prepared in a rush or from nothing. Pasta with pesto was my saviour, most of the times. A comfort food for all; so easy to prepare. Adding olives, sun dried tomatoes and grilled vegetables like eggplant, zucchini and broccoli makes it a wonderful, delicious dinner or a favorite lunch box meal in our house.
When it comes to food, Maanas and Navya are ‘born italians’. Maanas can have any italian(vegetarian) food, any time of the day whereas Navya would enjoy pasta with pesto any time of the day. In fact when she was just one year old, her favorite breakfast used to be ‘pasta with pesto’. And, for these reasons, I have made pesto so many times, so many different ways. But this seems to be their favorite… pesto made with walnuts and apple and no cheese!
(makes enough for about one pound of pasta)
- 3 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a handful of walnuts (about 1/4 cup)
- half of any sour apple, sliced thin
- 1 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (Primo-organic has been our long time favorite)
Process them all together in a blender or food processor until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Note: For easy grinding, add the walnuts, garlic, apple slices, half of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and sun dried tomatoes to the bowl first, then a portion of the basil leaves; blend. Add the remaining basil leaves in batches and repeat. Add salt, pepper and olive oil and blend well. If you add basil leaves first, they tend to stick to the side of the bowl without getting properly ground.
You can start making the pesto after keeping the water for boiling the pasta and still be done with it before the pasta is cooked.
Adding too much apple, especially if it is a not a sour variety, will make the pesto sweeter.
You can always add more olive oil, if you prefer.
This pesto freezes well.
Cut the vegetables(like eggplants, zucchini and broccoli) into thin/small. Coat them with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill. Or sauté the vegetables in olive oil. Add salt and pepper.
Boil the pasta according to instructions in a large pot until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot. Add the grilled vegetables, a few olives and sun dried tomatoes. Add pesto according to taste and toss it to combine. Add reserved cooking water as needed to adjust the consistency. Adjust the salt. Sprinkle crushed red chili flakes(optional). Serve immediately.