Something new and different, and perhaps just tangentially related to hooking up. It’s related in the sense that cooking is nurturing, it feeds the body and the soul. My husband fell in love with me when I cooked for him (late night picnic on a Tribeca rooftop), and to this day he loves coming home from work to discover what I’ve got planned for dinner.
I am not an inspired cook. I do not invent dishes, I could never improvise with a bit of this and a dash of that. I’m a very competent cook, however. By that I mean that I can follow recipes and produce very good food. I experiment with new recipes constantly and always rate the dish. If it doesn’t merit an A+ or A I never make it again. Over the years, this process has left me with a core set of dishes that are family favorites and my regular go-to meals.
After my daughter requested a collection of recipes for the foods she’s grown up with, I decided to share the best of them with you here. I have never understood the desire to keep one’s recipes a secret – I hand mine out to anyone who asks. Consider these posts a gift from me to you, no strings attached!
This is the best pesto you will ever eat, and it’s very simple to make. You must have a food processor, which is the one appliance I truly could not live without. It’s the perfect late summer meal, paired with heirloom tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and sea salt.
Then assemble your ingredients. Please pretend there’s a pint of cream in this picture. I forgot it and had to run out:
Note that I always buy peeled garlic from Whole Foods, it’s a bargain. And I buy olive oil by the gallon at Costco. The cookbook is probably my favorite of all time, The Silver Palate.
Start by mincing the garlic. The best way to do this is by dropping it through the chute and letting it just zoom around the food processor bowl till it’s all stuck to the sides:
Then dump in the basil and pine nuts:
Pour in the olive oil:
Dump in the grated parmesan:
Isn’t that just the most beautiful green?
Whisk in cream and a bit of the pasta water:
Add pasta and voila, the best protein-free meal you’ll ever have:
Pesto is my go-to for quick meals (I made enough for six lbs. of pasta froze five), as well as entertaining friends who are vegetarian, vegan, and my brother who keeps Kosher :)
Here’s the recipe:
Adapted from The Silver Palate
2 cups fresh basil leaves, thoroughly washed and patted dry
4 good size garlic cloves
1 cup pine nuts (Trader Joe’s is cheapest at $8 for two cups)
1 cup EVOO
1 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
I lb. pasta
1/4 cup cream
2 T. pasta water
1. Mince garlic by adding one clove at a time through feed tube while food processor is running.
2. Add basil and pine nuts and chop.
3. Leave the motor running and add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.
4. Shut the motor off, add the parmesan, a big pinch of salt and a liberal grinding of pepper. Process briefly to combine, then divide in half – one cup for one lb. of pasta, one cup for freezer.
5. Boil one lb. pasta.
6. Whisk cream and pasta water into 1 cup pesto. Add 1 lb. cooked pasta and toss well to combine.
There’s a real chill in the air here in Boston. Summer is ending. Grab the fresh basil while you can!
Have a great Labor Day Weekend. See you on Tuesday.