According to America’s Test Kitchen, Pestocado is the “hottest new ‘it’ sauce.” Avocado replaces the cheese in this full-flavored pesto. It was creamy and delicious.
The recipe was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s cookbook, More Mediterranean, via americastestkitchen.com. I modified the method and used linguine fini, Meyer lemon, walnuts, and two garlic cloves. Easy and great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 T table salt, for cooking broccoli and pasta
12 to 16 ounces broccoli, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stalks peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 pound spaghettini, or spaghetti
1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup shelled pistachios or walnuts, toasted and chopped, divided
3 anchovy fillets, rinsed
2 tsp toasted fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice (I used Meyer lemon)
1/4 cup (4 T) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
freshly ground black pepper
Heat an oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Coarsely chop.
Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon table salt and broccoli stalks and cook for 1 minute. Add florets and cook until stalks and florets are tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
Using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to colander set over bowl (do not discard boiling water). Let broccoli drain and cool slightly, about 5 minutes; set aside.
Add pasta to reserved boiling water and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.
Process 1 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, avocado, basil, 1/4 cup chopped nuts, anchovies, fennel seeds, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and coarse salt in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
With processor running, slowly add oil until incorporated, about 15 seconds.
Add pesto to pasta in pot and toss until sauce evenly coats pasta, adjusting consistency with remaining reserved cooking water as needed.
Stir in remaining broccoli and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pistachios. Garnish with fresh basil and drizzle with extra oil, as desired. Serve.
Every fall, black swallowtail caterpillars takeover my backyard basil plants. I needed to make this basil-loaded dish before sharing my plants with them.
This risotto was rich, creamy, and hearty. The absolute highlight of the finished dish was the crispy garlic and pan-toasted pine nut topping. Loved it.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Christian Reynoso. I adapted the original recipe to prepare it in a pressure cooker. Easy and elegant.
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
4 T unsalted butter, divided
2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
5 to 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced, divided
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
5 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup (4 T) raw pine nuts
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 1/2 cups (loosely packed) basil leaves (from 1 large bunch), torn into 1″ pieces
shaved or finely grated Parmesan, for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Parmesan rind, optional
juice of 1/2 large lemon
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a 5 or 7 quart pressure cooker over medium heat.
Add the rice and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until grains are partially translucent, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Add 2 cloves of garlic slices and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add all of the unheated stock; stir.
Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat.
Adjust the heat to maintain high pressure. Cook for 7 minutes.
Release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions or place the pot under running cold water. (I used a quick release method.)
Carefully open the lid, being careful of the steam. The stock should be almost completely absorbed but the rice will be covered with a thick layer of milky broth. (more stock can be added at this point if the risotto appears too thick)
Meanwhile, cook the remaining 6 cloves of garlic slices, olive oil, and pine nuts in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic starts to turn golden around edges. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, until pine nuts and garlic are golden, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat; stir in turmeric and season with pepper, to taste. Set aside.
Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, the Parmesan rind, if using, into the risotto. Season with salt, to taste.
Stir the freshly squeezed lemon juice into the risotto and add freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Stir basil into risotto.
Ladle risotto, discarding the Parmesan rind, into shallow bowls. Top with garlic–pine nut oil and Parmesan. Serve.
I love a dish involving warm dressing and wilted greens. I am also in love with farro- and pesto. This full-flavored vegetarian dish was made for me! Loved it. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Yasmin Fahr. I used homemade pesto, Campari tomatoes, and several of the modifications and options that were suggested in the original recipe for ingredient substitutions.
It was incredible as a summer dish but could easily be served in any season with all of the possible variations. It can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature. The dish could also be topped with a protein such as grilled chicken, scallops, or shrimp, if desired. We ate it for dinner with roasted CSA vegetables and a green salad. It would also be lovely for a special lunch or brunch. Fabulous.
Yield: Serves 4
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup farro, rinsed (I used Trader Joe’s “10 minute” Farro)
2 pints (4 cups) cherry or grape tomatoes or 2 pounds of Campari tomatoes (12-14 tomatoes)
1 red onion, peeled, quartered and cut into 1-inch wedges keeping the root intact (I cut a large red onion into 8ths)(can substitute shallots)
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the farro
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/4 cup (4 T) store-bought or homemade pesto, plus more to taste (recipe below)
2 packed cups baby spinach, arugula, Swiss chard (stemmed & chopped), or baby kale
1 (4 oz) ball fresh mozzarella or burrata, torn into chunks, or 1/2 cup ricotta salata or feta, crumbled, optional (I used 4 oz crumbled feta)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil leaves and tender stems, chiffonade or roughly chopped, for garnish
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. (I set my oven to convection roast.)
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the farro and adjust the heat to maintain a medium boil. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom, until tender and not too chewy, about 10 to 30 minutes. (I used Trader Joe’s “10-minute” Farro which cooked in 10 minutes)
Meanwhile, on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed sheet pan, combine the tomatoes and onion wedges with the oil, making sure everything is well coated and glistening, then season with salt, pepper and the red-pepper flakes. Roast until the tomatoes blister and slightly deflate, 20 to 30 minutes.
When the farro is done, drain, then pour into a serving bowl or back into the pot. Toss with some olive oil, then mix in the pesto.
Add the lemon zest and juice, then stir in the spinach (or other greens). Set aside to cool slightly.
Scrape the onions, tomatoes and their juices into the farro; season with salt and pepper as needed.
Add the cheese, if using, then garnish with herbs and serve.
For the Pesto: (Makes about 1 cup)
2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
1 large clove garlic
2 T toasted pine nuts or walnuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, or more to taste
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
Combine the basil with a pinch of salt, the garlic, the nuts, and about half of the oil in a food processor or blender.
Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary and adding the rest of the oil gradually.
Add more oil if you prefer a thinner mixture. (Sometimes I add a little bit of stock instead to achieve the same result.)
Stir in the cheese.
The pesto recipe is from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. The amounts can be modified to reduce the volume; only 1/4 cup of pesto is used in the farro dish.
More eggplant! This dish is a great vegetarian alternative to a traditional baked ziti. A crowd-pleasing weeknight comfort-food pasta casserole. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto in NYC. I used San Marzano tomatoes instead of beefsteak and modified the proportions and method. I loved that it incorporated pesto.
To make the dish more healthy, Waxman replaces the traditional béchamel sauce with eggplant. The original recipe even suggests using whole-wheat pasta, if desired. Don’t worry… it is still an indulgent baked pasta dish with butter and plenty of cheese. 😉
Yield: Serves 8
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 pound rigatoni (whole wheat pasta can be used, if desired)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium eggplants (2 pounds), cut into 3/4-inch dice
freshly ground pepper
1 medium to large yellow onion, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, chopped
4 beefsteak tomatoes (2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch dice or 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes, with juice, cut into pieces with kitchen shears
1/3 cup prepared pesto
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn or shredded (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Preheat the oven to 375°, preferably on convection.
Butter a 9-by-13-inch ovenproof baking dish. (I used cooking oil spray.)
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the rigatoni until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a large bowl.
Toss the pasta with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet or sauté pan, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add half of the eggplant and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant to the pasta. Repeat with another 1/4 cup of olive oil and the remaining eggplant.
Add the onion, garlic and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have broken down and thickened to a sauce consistency, 7 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the 4 tablespoons of butter.
Add the tomato sauce to the pasta and eggplant along with the pesto and ricotta; season with salt and pepper and toss well.
Transfer the rigatoni to the prepared baking dish. Top with the mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano and bake for about 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top.
Let the pasta stand for 10 minutes before serving.
More delicious broccoli and rice. 🙂 My husband and son ate this rice bowl topped with grilled chicken. I thought that it was perfect as is!
This recipe was adapted from Sara Moulton.com. I actually doubled this full-flavored broccoli pesto and served the extra batch over penne with chopped fresh tomatoes.
Yield: Serves 4
For the Rice Bowl:
2/3 cup brown Basmati rice
1/3 cup wild rice
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock (or water with 1/2 teaspoon salt), divided
1 cup broccoli pesto (recipe below)
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounces sliced wild mushrooms (I used cremini mushrooms)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
Combine the rice in a small saucepan with 1 3/4 cup of the stock, bring the stock to a boil, turn down to a bare simmer, cover the top with a paper towel and a lid and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the mushrooms and saute, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid the mushrooms give off is evaporated.
Add the broccoli pesto and cook stirring for 1 minute.
Fluff the rice with a fork and add it to the mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until combine well.
Add the remaining 1/4 cup broth and salt and pepper, to taste.
To serve, spoon into bowls and sprinkle with freshly grated cheese.
For the Broccoli Pesto:
Yield: about 2 cups
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds or chopped walnuts
6 ounces broccoli, trimmed if necessary and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
3 T extra virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 F, preferably on convection.
Spread out the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature.
Combine the cooled almonds, broccoli, scallions, cheese, olive oil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade.
Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped but not pureed.
Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in salt and pepper to taste.
Use as directed in recipe.
Note: The pesto will keep in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
I used to be able to bribe my husband to eat a frittata for dinner by serving it with roasted potatoes… unfortunately, that bribe has worn thin. A frittata topped with burrata was an easy sell! 🙂 This dish could be served for any meal of the day.
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. The burrata brought it to the next level. Next time, I would make half of the pesto. We ate it with roasted potatoes and green salad. Nice.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 pound (1small bunch) medium asparagus, tough bottoms removed
½cup extra-virgin olive oil
1cup basil leaves, plus a few small basil leaves for garnish
1cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2tablespoons unsalted butter
8large eggs, lightly beaten
¼cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-2balls of fresh burrata, about 1/2 pound total, at room temperature
Rinse asparagus, and pat dry. Cut into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal, or into julienne strips if preferred. Set aside.
In blender or small food processor, purée olive oil, basil and parsley to make a thin pesto. Season with salt and pepper.
Put a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or other nonstick omelet pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add butter and swirl to coat pan, then add asparagus. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring for about a minute without browning.
Quickly pour in eggs and stir with a wooden spoon, as if making scrambled eggs. Tilt pan and lift mixture at the edges to allow any runny egg from the top to make its way to the bottom. After 3 or 4 minutes, the frittata should be mostly set. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Lay a lid over the skillet, and turn off the heat. Leave for a minute or so, until frittata is moist and just done. (Alternatively, place pan under a hot broiler for a minute or so.)
Set whole burrata in the center of frittata. Drizzle with herb pesto. Pierce burrata with tip of a knife and spoon contents over frittata.
Cut frittata into wedges and serve directly from pan, garnished with basil leaves.
We’ve had a touch of spring for a couple of days in Long Island. It has been SO sunny, warm and nice. 🙂 It made me think of this dish because the pesto and lemon gave it a lot of brightness. Fortunately, I freeze giant cubes of freshly made pesto made after my final summer basil harvest.
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Kay Chun. I added shallots and onions and increased the stock, garlic and the amount of lemon juice. The original recipe doesn’t incorporate white wine, and the dish was lovely without it, but I may consider adding some for extra flavor next time. I also used uncooked shrimp; it cooked very quickly in the hot risotto.
Even though I love making risotto in my pressure cooker, I’m not sure why making risotto on the stove is even necessary when it’s so simple to prepare in the oven! This dish was beyond easy to make, quick, and really delicious.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot
1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
7 garlic cloves, sliced
1 cup arborio rice
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 to 1 cup of white wine, optional
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
24 shelled shrimp (I used 1 pound of 21-25 count shrimp)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
fresh lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
pesto sauce, for serving (I used one giant cube of basil pesto, about 2-3 T)
Preheat the oven to 400°, preferably on convection.
In an enameled medium cast-iron casserole or pan with a lid, heat the olive oil.
Add the shallots and onion, and cook until soft but not brown.
Add the garlic and rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until very fragrant, 2 minutes.
Stir in the broth and bring to a boil.
Cover and bake for about 20 to 22 minutes, until the rice is tender.
Stir in the 1/2 cup of cheese, the shrimp, butter and lemon juice; season with salt. (The shrimp is cooked when it becomes fully pink.)
Serve drizzled or mixed with pesto. Garnish with cheese.