Tag Archives: pesto

Pesto Couscous Salad

So I actually just made this recipe up as I went along and it turned out to be pretty good, so I decided to put it up on the blog. Sorry I didn’t take any prep pictures, but… it’s a salad.

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Pesto Couscous Salad

2 cups couscous
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, hot
½ bunch of kale, tough stems removed, chopped
½ cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced lengthwise
¼ cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil (or more to preference)
¼ cup basil-arugula pesto
1 ½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in a 2-qt saucepan over medium-high heat. Toast the couscous for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned, then add hot chicken broth. Lower heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 12 min, or until all the liquid is absorbed. The couscous should be firm but tender, like the Old Spice guy. Or like al dente pasta.

As soon as the couscous is cooked, and while still hot, add the chopped kale and toss until it is wilted and bright green. Add all the other ingredients and toss, season with salt and pepper, serve at room temperature.

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Basil-Arugula Almond Pesto

Sauces and condiments can make almost any dish go from ordinary to delicious. Think about it. What’s a Thanksgiving dinner without turkey gravy? Or Eggs Benedict without hollandaise? Or a Shake Shack burger without Shack Sauce?  Yeah I don’t know either.

Let me say something else: fellas, do yourself a favor and get yourself a decent food processor.  If you hate prep work like I do, then this is a must have appliance for your kitchen. Cuts your chopping, slicing, grating, and mixing time by like 80%. Real talk. I have a 9-cup Cuisinart.

Here’s all you need to make this pesto:

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(Not Pictured: Fresh Arugula)

(adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry roasted sliced almonds
9-10 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
2 cups fresh arugula leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good-quality olive oil
1 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Tools:
Food Processor
Preparation:
Fit the food processor with a steel blade and process the almonds and garlic for 15 seconds, or until it looks like this:
Add the basil, arugula, salt, and pepper. Important: Make sure the basil and arugula are washed and dried before placing in the processor. You don’t want watery pesto. While the processor is running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
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Final product:

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Notes: Pesto becomes brown and dried out as it is exposed to air. For storing, pack it in containers with a thin film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.

I had some olives so I also made a simple tapenade after I made the pesto, with a handful of olives, a couple basil leaves, the juice of half a lemon, and a 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped.  Again, add olive oil while processing until you get the desired consistency. You don’t even need to clean the bowl!

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One more thing: do you know how much pesto costs at specialty markets? It’s like $10 for a little 6 oz tub! Get outta my face with that stuff! I made this with basil I had growing in my backyard and I had enough to fill a 32 oz jar. It was basically free. Enjoy!

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