The recent teasers of chilly days have sent me scampering to use up what's left in my garden before nature decides it's truly time to frost. It is a good time to make pesto.
The goodness of pestoIn Italy, pesto, a paste of herbs, olive oil and Parmesan cheese, is used for everything from spreading on bruschetta to slathered on a Panini to stirred with hot pasta noodles until the parmesan melts delightfully.
Traditionally made with garlic, basil and roasted pine nuts, I like to add spinach to my pesto as well. It cuts the powerful basil nicely and adds a nice nutritional boost while making the endeavor more economical if you have to buy your fresh herbs at the store.
Low in saturated fats and high in healthy, unsaturated fats, pesto is one of my favorite healthy choices for its satisfying flavor and incredible versatility.
Keep homemade pesto on hand to brighten up dishesTightly seal freshly-made pesto in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week, longer if very oily. I pack it in my kids' lunches as a dip with baby carrots and pita chips. Try pesto in place of mayonnaise on sandwiches with any lunchmeat or fresh vegetables. Mix it into tuna instead of mayo. Let it melt over freshly-roasted vegetables. Paint it on grilled chicken just before serving. Put it in sterile jars and can it for holiday gifts. The possibilities are endless.
How to make homemade pestoHere is my favorite pesto recipe along with two ways to make a healthy one-dish meal with more of the end-of-summer vegetables. Consider leaving out the fish and instead using chicken or pork for a different take on this meal. Of course, you should feel free to use store-bought pesto and choose different vegetables, too.
Cooking with homemade pesto
Pasta with Pesto
Method 2: Preheat oven to 450F. Spray inside of 3 1/2 or 4-qt cast iron Dutch oven and lid with olive oil. Scatter with scallions. Pour pasta into pot. Add liquid and stir to coat noodles well. Spread into even layer across base.
Set fish in next. In a medium bowl, mix zucchini, eggplant, and bell pepper with pesto. Mix well to distribute the pesto. Add the chiles, if desired. Spread vegetables into thick layer atop fish. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, or until 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully-cooked meal wafts from the oven.
Recipes featuring pestoQuick Pesto Lasagna Rolls
How to make homemade pasta and pesto
Spinach Dill Pesto
Arugula pesto recipes