Pesto…rific! with 3 great recipes, too.

 Basil Pesto This year I decided to grow basil for the first time. I got a late start on the planting, but ended up with a whole row of basil bushes, well I think they are actually called plants, but they were much bigger than I had expected. Now with so much basil and such hot weather, I really didn’t get around to picking and using it until just this week. I know, shame on me! I am really a fair weather gardener. But I had a graduation party for my daughter a week or so ago and my sister came to the party and was thrilled to picked a whole bunch of free basil. I heard the pesto she made was excellent and that her fiance’ and their son enjoyed it almost to the point of extreme (don’t ask the details).

Well, not to be outdone, I decided to get busy and pick some basil and make my first batch of pesto. I skimmed the internet for a recipe, and they were all very similar, so I just picked one, which I will share with you next. Of course, the reason I wanted to grow basil was to make my own bruschetta, since I typically grow an abundance of tomatoes too. I love bacon and tomato sandwiches this time of year, so I just wanted to expand my options with my home-grown tomatoes. Back to my story, I made the pesto and decided to make a meal of it yesterday, with an easy pasta dish I used to make when my kids were little. Of course, this too included my fresh garden tomatoes. Now tonight, I decided to try my first attempt at bruschetta and it was absolutely delicious! I made this with the left-over pesto from last nights meal, and I made a meal of several slices, thus saving room for a small scoop of ice cream later.

So there you have it… A Nutritious Dish (or 3) in a matter of minutes! TM

Fresh Basil Pesto
Author: Jennifer M Wood, MS, RDN
Ingredients
  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste.
Instructions
  1. In a blender or food processor container, combine the basil leaves, garlic, Parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Add a small amount of olive oil and begin to puree. As needed, turn off the machine and push the basil leaves down, adding more olive oil and repeating this process until all the ingredients are well blended and the pesto is a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Pesto Pasta with Kielbasa
Author: Jennifer M Wood, MS, RDN
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. box of linguine
  • 1 lb. kielbasa sausage (choose a light variety)
  • 1/3 cup pesto, adding more to taste
  • 2 medium garden-fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, slice sausage and brown in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Once pasta is tender, drain. Stir in pesto, then stir in cooked sausage and tomatoes. Salt and pepper, to taste, then serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

 

Fresh Pesto Bruschetta
Ingredients
  • 6 slices crusty bread, I used the Ciabatta bread I overdid last night
  • butter
  • Pesto
  • 1 medium chopped fresh tomato
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Lightly spread the bread slices with butter, then lightly spread with pesto. Top with tomatoes, then sprinkle with cheese. Lightly sprinkle with salt and just a touch of pepper if desired. Enjoy!
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