Posts Tagged With: Pesto

Super Fast Dinner: Gnocchi with Red Pesto and Asparagus

For some weird reason, I had a hankering for Gnocchi the other night and decided to get a tiny bit creative with it.  Normally, I just boil it and serve a yummy meat sauce over it.  Delish!  Not tonight, folks!!  Here’s somewhat fancy looking dish that came together quicker than the amount of time it takes to bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.  Seriously.  We’re talking minutes here, friends.  Minutes.


  • 1 lb. package Gnocchi (found in the frozen foods section)
  • 1/4 c. sundried tomato pesto (can sub pre-made basil pesto too its you’d like)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
  • Asiago cheese for garnish
  • Fresh lemon zest for garnish, optional

Boil 2 quarts water and cook frozen gnocchi according to package directions (usually 3 minutes – do NOT thaw the gnocchi).  During the last minute of cooking, add asparagus pieces to pot to par boil.  Cook for additional minute and strain.  Return gnocchi and asparagus to pot and stir in pesto.  Serve immediately topped with freshly grated Asiago and lemon zest.

Categories: American, Entrees, Pasta, Recipes | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Time to Harvest the Basil: 2 Pesto Recipes

Believe it or not, there's a rather large rosemary plant hanging out in there too, but the Purple Basil is taking over. We also have sweet basil, lemongrass, and peppermint (that's on the ground next to the planter).

Its time to start harvesting my basil (as some of it towards the base of the plant is already looking a little wilty).  We grew two different types this year, sweet basil and purple basil, so we have a wee bit of an abundance.  One of my favorite things to make with excess basil is pesto and I’ve so far made two varieties this year – one with each type of basil.  I usually make a double batch and freeze in containers of about 1/2 c. each – perfect for pulling out to season meat or make a quick pasta with.  These freeze incredibly well and maintain their bright colors better than if I were to can them (and who wants to can only 8 4 oz. jars?).  By the way, I doubled each recipe to yield about 2 cups of each type.


Classic Basil Pesto

  • 2 c. fresh basil leaves
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBS freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 c. pine nuts
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the basil, garlic, cheses, and nuts in a food processor.  Process to mix.  With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and process to desired consistency.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Red Basil Pesto

  • 2 c. fresh opal basil leaves
  • 2 1/2 TBS minced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 TBS freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 6 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 c. pine nuts
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine the basil, sun-dried tomato, garlic, cheses, and nuts in a food processor.  Process to mix.  With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and process to desired consistency.  Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Courtesy of Pestos! by Dorothy Rankin

Categories: Condiments, Italian, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Eggplant & Goat Cheese Sandwiches

I had some extra eggplant in my fridge because I’m not always good at visualizing how much a cup is in the grocery store.  I needed 6 cups for a recipe I’m sharing soon and ending up with enough to feed a small militia.  Whoopsie…  So I started looking for ideas on what to do with some of my eggplant (and I still have some leftover!) when this little masterpiece came to me.

This was a totally simple and healthy dinner that capitalized on fresh produce.  I loved the flavors of roasted veggies, basil pesto, creamy goat cheese, and peppery arugula.  If you’re weary about eggplant, this may be a good recipe to start with because you can easily control the texture since its cooked independently of everything else technically.  Make sure to roast it until its really tender otherwise its going to have a funky, spongy texture that might not appeal to you.


  • 8 half inch thick slices of eggplant
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 4 (1 -ounce) slices ciabatta bread (make ’em thicker for sure if you’re not watching calories!  I love bread, but am trying to limit how much I take in each day)
  • 2 TBS basil pesto, homemade or store bought
  • 1 c. baby arugula
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. (2 oz.) soft goat cheese
  • Red onion slices, optional
  1. Preheat broiler
  2. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on a baking sheet.  Brush both sides of eggplant with 1 tsp. oil.
  3. Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membrane.  Arrange bell pepper halves, skin side up on baking sheet with eggplant; flatten with hand.  Broil 4 minutes; turn eggplant over (do not turn pepper over).  Broil an additional 4 minutes; remove eggplant from pan.  Broil pepper an additional 7 minutes or until blackened.  Place pepper in a zip-lock bag; seal.  Let stand for 15 minutes; peel and discard skin.
  4. Broil bread slices for 2 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once.  Spread 1 TBS pesto on each of two bread slices.  Layer each bread slice, pesto side up, with two slices of eggplant, 1 roasted red pepper, and 2 more eggplant slices and red onion slices if desired.  Toss arugula with remaining 1 tsp oil  and black pepper; divide arugula mixture evenly between sandwiches.  Spread 2 TBS goat cheese over each of 2 remaining slices of bread and place on sandwiches.

Cooking Light, October 2009

Categories: American, Entrees, Recipes | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Grilled Pesto Chicken Sandwiches

This dinner is 100% courtesy of Branden.  My only major contribution was the fact that I ran down the street to the bakery for some fresh sour dough bread.  Go me!

Branden found this recipe in his new grilling cookbook that I surprised him with a few weeks ago.  The recipes and photos are fabulous and we’re really excited to try more recipes this summer, especially since this one turned out so well.  Follow this recipe to the “T” and you won’t be disappointed!

On a side note, if you’re looking for a good cookbook, I have to say that Branden and I have about a dozen different ones by Williams-Sonoma and they have never disappointed.  The cookbooks are well written and always have pictures and tips.  They actually make for good reading; the grilling cookbook talks about different cuts of meat, grilling techniques, and game plans for executing the recipes.  Williams-Sonoma definitely knows what they’re doing in terms of making a well-rounded book that can be enjoyed by novices and master chefs alike.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 6 oz. each
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 8 slices of fontina cheese
  • 8 slices of sourdough bread
  • Mayonnaise
  • 8 thick tomato slices
  • 4 TBS basil pesto, homemade or store-bought (we used store bought because we figured homemade might kill our basil plant this early in the season)
  1. Season the chicken breat halves with salt and pepper and sprinkle evenly with the Italian seasoning.  Brush lightly on all sides with the oil.
  2. Prepare the charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat.  Brush and oil the grill grate.
  3. Place the chicken on the grill directly over the fire and cook until nicely grill-marked and relatively firm to the touch, 6-8 minutes on each side depending on the thickness.  You want the chicken to be opaque throughout but still moist and juicy inside.  About 2 minutes before the chicken is ready, place 2 slices of the cheese on each breast half, cover the grill, and allow the cheese to melt.  Put the bread slices along the edge of the grill at the same time, and turn once after 1 minute to toast both sides.
  4. Transfer the chicken and bread slices to a cutting board.  Spread the bread slices with the mayonnaise, if desired.  Cut each breast half against the grain on the diagonal into 3-4 pieces.  Arrange 1 sliced breast half on each of 4 bread slices.  Top with 2 tomato slices, and then top the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of the pesto, spreading it evenly over the tomatoes.  Close the sandwiches with the remaining bread slices, and serve.
Categories: Entrees, Recipes | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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