Basil Pesto Pasta

There are multiple of us in the house who are allergic to nuts, so pesto is a dish that doesn’t happen much. At least not traditional pestos.

But a few years ago we found a basil pesto that we like. It’s simple and easy and makes for a good quick weeknight dish, especially in summer when there’s more basil than anyone knows what to do with.

It’s not especially filling – so consider pairing it with a simple meat, like a roast chicken. Or hell, maybe just use the sauce on the chicken and skip the pasta. That might be good too.

Basil Pesto Pasta

2c packed fresh basil leaves, washed and well-drained
1.5c grated Romano cheese, plus extra if desired
0.5c olive oil
0.5c butter
6 large cloves fresh garlic, crushed
1 lb spaghetti

Place basil, 1c of cheese, oil, butter, and garlic in the blender. Plus to blend until you have a coarse puree. Makes about 1.5c of pesto. Spoon 1c over freshly cooked spaghetti, mix, and then add leftover cheese. Mix again. Serve with additional pesto and cheese.

Store any leftover pesto up to a week. Surface will darken when exposed to air (like guacamole).

(We typically only put ~0.75c over the spaghetti; then again, we use gluten-free pasta which comes in packages of 12oz, so we can get away with less. Then you have enough pesto for two meals.)

Crepes make delicious snacks

Gluten-free bread is expensive, and flavor is always kind of a crapshoot. It’s never really going to taste exactly like bread and different flours taste different. I like the bread I make from scratch.

But here’s the thing: making bread from scratch takes forever. Even (especially?) gluten-free bread. I’ve got a good recipe – that’s another post though.

So a couple of weekends ago, I was craving peanut butter. Normally, I’ll cut up an apple or cut a celery stalk and have some peanut butter. That was not going to work this time, because it turns out that I was craving a peanut butter sandwich. And of course – no bread in the house. (There’s almost never GF bread in the house.) Peanut butter tastes terrible on corn tortillas – don’t try it, just trust me – and so what to do?

The answer, my friends, is crepes. Crepes are quick to make, quick to cook, easy to eat (I had one with peanut butter while I was finishing cooking the batch, thus sating my craving), and then you have extra crepes around! At least for a bit until everyone else eats them. They go fast.

Gluten-Free Crepes

5.5oz ATK GF flour blend
1.5t sugar
0.25t salt
1.5c milk (the recipe calls for whole, we never have whole in the house, 1% works fine)
2 large eggs
2T unsalted butter, melted & cooled

Start heating a 10″ nonstick skillet over medium heat. We actually have a crepe pan, so if you have one, please use it instead. A skillet is a fine substitute and not having a crepe pan should not stop you.

Whisk the dry ingredients (which includes the sugar this time!) into a medium bowl. Mix the wet ingredients into another bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, whisk until all the lumps are gone.**

Once the pan is heated, pour about 0.25c of batter into the pan and swirl to get a thin, even layer of batter. (This is easily the hardest part of making crepes, and your first crepe is often kind of a mess. It’s ok, even if it looks bad, it makes a nice snack while you’re cooking the rest of them.)

Cook the crepe without moving until the edges are brown (about a minute). Gently slide a spatula around and under the crepe, loosening and then trying to flip. Cook until second side is lightly spotted – only about 30 seconds or so. Then transfer to a waiting plate. Repeat until your batter is done, placing one crepe on top of another.

This is the crepe recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s How to Be Gluten-Free, which is a cookbook I HIGHLY recommend if you’re a gluten-free person like myself.

** Aside: I often mix the wet ingredients together in to a 4c pyrex measuring cup and then put the dry into the wet, to make the batter easier to pour into the pan.

Soup for all

sunburst soup

 

I’m starting a simple blog post when I don’t feel like writing. I don’t even know what I want to say. I want to talk about soup, about how a potato-leek soup is somehow perfect for this time of year, it being leek season (is it ever not potato season?) and all. (This one adds carrots, which is why it’s orange.) But I’m tired, and so I’ll just give you the recipe, maybe with the added note that this is a good recipe to practice your chopping.

Sunburst Soup

2 medium leeks, split and washed, white and light green parts sliced
1.5lbs carrots, sliced
1.5lbs potatoes, peeled and diced
2T unsalted butter
5c chicken stock
1/2t chopped thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
2c half & half
2T fresh lemon juice
3T chopped fresh dill
1/8t cayenne
1/4t nutmeg

Melt butter, sautée leeks until tender & wilted. Add carrots, potatoes, stock, bring to boil. Add thyme, bay leaf, salt to taste. Simmer for 20-30 min, until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf and puree the soup. Stir in lemon juice, half & half, spices. Taste and correct with additional seasonings.