|Crostini Appetizers with Pesto|
I made this for my daughter-in-law and son recently and it was sooooo good on rotini. The pesto clings to the grooves of the pasta delivering perfect flavor in every bite. I highly recommend using rotini, or as we called it when we were kids, “scroodles.”
On crostini it’s a burst of flavor–perfect for a savory appetizer that will impress your guests. And it’s super heart-healthy. Healthy food never tasted so yummy!
We found beautiful basil at the farmers’ market that still had roots on the stems. I was tempted to plant some of it! It takes a little time to wash the leaves, but it’s the only part of the recipe that takes much time. You could do this the day before to streamline your prep on the day you make the pesto. Also the pesto lasts about a week in the refrigerator, so you can totally make this ahead of when you want to serve it. If you freeze it in cubes, you have the makings of a quick gourmet meal at a moment’s notice. That is very good during the holidays!
Walnut Basil Pesto
This is a combination of various recipes I’ve found, and this is the version we like best.
3 cups fresh basil leaves, picked, washed and drained
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
|Too Many Tomatoes on the Rotini IMO|
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup walnuts. toasted in a skillet with a little olive oil
1/2 cup good olive oil
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Dash sea salt
Squirt of lemon juice
Put everything in a food processor and pulse it until you get a fine paste. Done!
If you don’t have a food processor you can use a blender. Put the olive oil in first and then the basil leaves and parsley. Remove from the blender and put in a mixing bowl. Finely chop the walnuts and garlic then mix them in by hand. Mix in the cheese last.
You can play around with the proportions to taste. Nothing here is written in stone. You could add a little bit of fresh spinach if you like.
Keep in the fridge until ready to assemble. Spread the pesto on toasted slices of French or Italian bread. Another method is to spread ricotta on the toast and then top with a generous dab of pesto. Also yum.
You can dress up crostini further if you like by adding a thin slice of avocado, a small ball of mozzarella, or a thin shaving of solid parmesan cheese on top. Or add a touch of parsley or thinly sliced green onions. For Christmas, use something red like pimento, cherry tomato halves, red bell peppers, or sun-dried tomatoes. You can even make a Santa hat using a red bell pepper triangle and mozzarella or feta cheese.
If you grow your own basil, you can indulge in this as often as you like! (Note to self: plant basil next year.) You can freeze pesto in an ice cube tray, pop out the cubes when frozen & store in the freezer to use all year long. Now that’s a frugal luxury!
During the holidays, you can put together a beautiful meal for house guests after a day at the museum when you are tired. Boil your pasta of choice, saute some frozen shrimp, and mix all with pesto from the freezer that you set out to thaw before you left for the day. Quick and wonderful. Serve with some French or Italian bread and pour the wine.
You can use pesto on so many things: salmon, as a pizza sauce, pasta salad, mixed with vegetables (like green beans, zucchini or asparagus), a sandwich spread, wrap spread, on grilled shrimp, on mushrooms, as a garnish to an omelet (fold omelet over some pesto), rolled into crescent rolls, twisted into bread sticks, mixed into meatballs, topping cooked chicken breasts, topping grilled tomato halves. Whew! What can’t you use pesto on?! I can’t wait to try it on pizza as it gives such flavor. Mmmmm with dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and some mozzarella.
How do you like your pesto? I hope you give this recipe a try. Enjoy!