Sunday, June 14, 2009

Presto Pesto!... and a giveaway...

June Gloom mornings followed by summery afternoons. My garden is happy! I spent my weekend picking the dead leaves and flowers off the geraniums, moving a potted plant so that my heirloom tomato would get more light, organizing my emails and generally doing nothing. There are times when I need to do nothing, but I so rarely feel that I can afford to do nothing. I have succumbed to modern life, as much as I have tried to dodge that bullet. I counsel my patients to stop, slow down, take time out to breathe, remember that the world will not stop if they don't do everything. Well, this weekend I finally took my own advice. I think by doing this, I have managed to dodge whatever it was that was trying to take over my lungs.

I read Katie's terrific post over at Thyme For Cooking about laying out a garden. I could have used her sage advice when I lived in New Mexico and had room and lots of sun for a big veggie garden. Now I must grow everything in pots - flowers, herbs, veggies. We have a gopher infestation in this neighborhood that has me worried. My house is on a hillside which is now riddled with the little beasts, and if we don't do something about it soon, I think I might wind up in my neighbor's living room. But I digress......... Anyway, for those of you with room for a garden, I highly recommend her post. For those of you with little room or little sun, or both (like me), container gardening will yield wonderful results too.

My dad was an incredible gardener. He used to grow the best tomatoes on earth. I may have posted my memories of coming home from school and going straight to the garden to pick a ripe tomato, inhaling it's sun-warmed earthy scent while biting into it and letting the juices run down my chin. I don't know how many tomato plants he used to grow, but I do know that it was always more than we could eat. Which, of course, meant tomato sauce. And tomato sauce meant pasta. When I was a kid, pasta meant spaghetti - or "pisghetti" as we used to call it. To this day I can still see my brother as he sucked a strand of pisghetti into his mouth, the end flailing around and splashing tomato sauce all over his face, shirt and the table while both of us laughed.

When I looked at the shape of this pasta and knew that it wanted something other than tomato sauce. It wanted a sauce with some body. Winter was over, so the idea of a heavier meat sauce was definitely out. Pesto was the only thing that made sense to me at the time, and since basil was making it's appearance in every market and nursery in town, and parsley is growing in abundance in a container in my front yard, this was a no-brainer. The recipe that follows contains approximate amounts, as measuring isn't really my strong suit. I'm entering this into Presto Pasta Nights, this week hosted by Daphne at More Than Words. Thanks to Ruth at Once Upon a Feast for keeping this event organized!Be sure to read the bottom of this post and enter the pasta giveaway! Garofalo has generously offered to send samples to one lucky winner.


1 head of garlic, roasted whole in the oven
1 C pine nuts
2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 cups grated Pecorino Romano
6 C (packed) basil leaves - you may use a variety of basil
2 1/2C flat leaf parsley
1 1/2 TBS chopped anchovies
6 TBS olive oil

Peel the garlic and place the cloves in a food processor until finely chopped, then add nuts, cheeses, anchovies, a large handful of herbs, and 1 teaspoon pepper and process until chopped. Add remaining herbs one handful at a time, pulsing after each addition, until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil and blend until incorporated.

Pesto can be stored in the freezer, so making a large quantity at once makes it easy to have presto pasta!

Pasta give away:

It seems that pasta brings back memories of childhood to everyone. What is your favorite childhood memory of pasta? It can be either eating it or your nonna's sauce filling the house with it's rich aroma. Send it to me at toni AT missionvalleyacu DOT com by June 25th. I will pick a winner at random and Garofalo Pasta will send you some samples.


Penny said...

Toni, I am enjoying reading your blog. Thanks for stopping by. I love pesto pasta and hope I have enough basil to make a lot of it this year.

Thistlemoon said...

I love the look of these pastas! I remember kids on my block calling it "pisghetti"! So cute!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

It's like they say Toni great minds think alike or maybe it's that pasta is just so good so incredibly many different ways;) Love Pesto Pasta Sauce. Basil grows in Dallas like a weed; parsley I never have much luck with as it seems to always bolt in the heat here.
I'd love to have a garden like Katie's but in the city - not going to happen.

Unknown said...

Penny - Welcome! I loved reading your blog as well. I've added you to my blogroll.

Jenn - Aren't they cute? I've forgotten what they are called - something like radiatorre - and they do look like little radiators, don't they?

Tanna - Basil growing like weeds, eh? You are lucky!

daphne said...

Toni! I love REAL pesto! Yours sounds really really beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

anya said...

"Pisghetti"...I am sold!! That reminds me that in Russia all kinds of pasta are colloquially called 'macaroni', irrespective of their forms and shapes. Errr..

Unknown said...

Daphne - Real pesto is good - especially when you have time to make it! That's why I try to make as big a batch as I can and freeze the rest.

Anya - I think that many countries call all pasta macaroni, regardless of shape. As long as it tastes good, I don't really care what it's called! ;-)

Lori said...

This pesto sounds wonderful. I have some basil in my fridge waiting to be using and I've had pasta on my mind. I have wonderful memories of my father's garden and fortunately I'm still enjoying that as an adult.

The Food Hunter said...

Pasta has always been such a big part of my life. Growing up we ate it 3 times per week. Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. My grampa always ate spaghetti with a fork and spoon to twirl.

Your pasta looks delicious.

Unknown said...

Lori - You are indeed fortunate to be able to enjoy your dad's garden. My dad was a wonderful gardener, and those memories have warmed me for many years.

Food Hunter - Welcome! For whatever reason, we never used spoons to twirl our pasta. I only learned that trick later in life.

Tiina said...

Nice recipe! I love the idea of parmeggiano and pecorino in the same pesto.


Ruth Daniels said...

Fantastic dish. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights. Hope to see many more of them in the coming weeks.

Susan said...

I love "shapey" pasta. You don't see radiatorre around too much; rotini seems to be the most popular.

Great idea to roast the garlic, Toni. That much raw can be harsh at times. Thanks for the tip!