Tuesday, August 16, 2011


This summer I decided to branch out a bit and try growing more than just green beans, since that turned out well last year. Part of this expanded gardening attempt means I now have several basil plants growing in my yard. And yes, they are growing! So much, in fact, that a friend was kind enough to harvest some for me while we were in CT (to keep it happy), and I still had enough to make a batch of pesto with the stuff that remained.

Well, I thought I did. But it would've been a small batch. Not quite enough for the company we were having for dinner. And when I went to my beloved Ken's Fruit Market (they have a website now! isn't it pretty?) to grab another bunch or two, they were out. ACK! My company was on its way, if not at my house already, and I had to decide what to do, quickly.

And thus, spinach-basil pesto was born. Thanks to most of a bag of spinach in my crisper and the end of a jar of Trader Joe's pesto genovese, my meager harvest turned into a giant delicious heap of green goodness. Even the little guy, once we convinced him to just try it already, enjoyed his.
We served this with a salad (I know, leafy green overkill much?) and yellow watermelon from the farmers' market. That was the juiciest melon I've ever had! I think it's called a "yellow doll" or something. The little guy needed a bit of convincing to try that, too (are all newly-turned-3-year-olds this picky?!) but then he couldn't get enough.
These photos are remarkably less staged than even my usuals, since I almost forgot to snap any before we sat down to eat.

I used Bridget's blog for inspiration, mostly regarding the toasting of the nuts/garlic and bruising of the basil, but the quantities I used were based on what I had available. The spinach helped mellow the bite of the garlic and peppiness of the basil, but it still had plenty of flavor. My nuts were walnuts; my oil was grapeseed. I added 8 ounces of cooked chicken to the pasta before stirring in the sauce to make it more filling. And, of course, the pasta I used was gluten-free.

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