Pesto should be one of the seven great wonders of the world.
Ever since I tasted pesto, about 8 or 9 years ago, I have been on a quest to find a way to incorporate this basil-kissed, olive oil-based sauce into my dishes. I realized pretty early on, that buying basil at the store is ridiculously expensive and therefore, stuck my first basil plant in my flower beds.
Over the years, I have multipled the number of plants by many, so as to put containers of pesto away for the winter months, and I am always interested to see a new type of recipe for pesto.
Recently, I was intrigued by this one that I saw on Rachel Rappaport’s site – Coconut and Lime for her Artichoke Basil Pesto. I know Rachel is a kindred spirit, as she has numerous variations of pesto on her site, as well as many recipes involving coconut and lime, which I also adore.
I happened to have lots of basil pushing skyward next to my patio, and a neglected bag of frozen artichoke hearts in my freezer just waiting for a moment like this, so I got started.
I should note that I will be quoting Rachel’s recipe for a single batch of this yumminess, but I chose to….sigh…..triple it.
Yes, I really said triple it.
There is a method to my madness. I immediately thought this would be heavenly spread on a nice crunchy, garlicky piece of crostini.
I was correct. Oh my goodness, was it good.
Just be forewarned – my quantities will appear, well, more plentiful in the pictures you see here, than the single recipe!
Let’s get started learning how it came about.
You will need one 12-oz. bag of frozen artichoke hearts.
You will also need three ounces of parmesan cheese. I used fresh grated, but in a pinch, the green plastic bottle will do.
Get two ounces of fresh basil leaves, or roughly about 1/4 cup.
Now you’ll need fresh italian parsley, about .5 ounces, or 1 tablespoon. I prefer the flat leaf variety to the curly leaf one and it is taking over one section of my yard, so…there ya go.
Our next ingredient is pine nuts. I often substitute walnuts in my pesto recipe, but I chose to follow the recipe to the letter on this one.
Pine nuts have a rich, buttery flavory that is a treat to splurge for once in a while. I chose to toast them for this recipe as suggested by Rachel.
Pine nuts are a soft, pale-blond nut before toasting. Simply put 2 tablespoons or one ounce of them on a lined, ungreased baking sheet.
Bake in a 350º oven for 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
You will also need three tablespoons of olive oil, and four to five cloves of garlic.
Yes, that’s a lot of garlic. Yes it’s potent. Yes it’s delicious.
Buy some Tic-Tacs for later.
You will also need salt and pepper to taste. I used about a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Put all of this except the olive oil into your food processor and give it about 10 pulses.
Now with the processor running on low, drizzle in your olive oil. Process until almost smooth. A little texture is nice.
We served it spread across some warm, toasted pieces of crostini and topped it with some sliced grape tomatoes and some more basil. We also garnished some of the crostini with the pesto and parsley and shaved parmesan.
But, we didn’t stop there. There was pasta to make!
I boiled some wheat rotini pasta and drained it.
While that was cooking, I threw about 15 sliced grape tomatoes, some sliced cremini mushrooms, some roughly chopped red onions and some fresh spinach into a saute’ pan with a little olive oil. I also added some chopped up chicken breast.
When the pasta was done, we tossed it in the pan with the vegetable/chicken mixture and spooned in about 1 cup of the basil artichoke pesto.
This was so wonderful, I can’t even begin to describe it to you. The pasta was scrumptious, but the crostini with the pesto on it….
It was heaven, I tell ya.
Katie’s Printable Recipe – Basil Artichoke Pasta