Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Brussel Sprout Pesto, Sauce and Spread

Almost any green vegetable can be made into pesto. What is pesto? Pesto is a sauce for pasta traditionally made with basil as the main ingredient, followed by pine nuts, parmesan cheese, garlic and brought together with olive oil. Most Americans think a pasta sauce is either a tomato sauce or a cream sauce (alfredo), but in Italy any vegetable or combination of, along with olive oil is considered a "sauce" tossed with pasta and a dusting of a good hard cheese like parmesan reggiano cheese. Sometimes the veg is sauteed with some pancetta or bacon, maybe anchovy, for a little extra flavor.

Any kind of pesto you can make can be tossed with pasta, or used as a spread for bread, crackers, pita chips (etc.), or even veg sticks, as long as you own, and know how to use a food processor the possiblilties are endless! All you need is the following ingredients.....

any green / herb/or veg

basil. parsley, cilantro, spinach, chard, kale, arugula, brussels, broccoli, bell peppers, tomato, etc...


pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, hazel nuts, macadamia, pistachios, etc....


usually a hard cheese like parmesan or romano, but not necessarily, try blue cheese, feta, hard chedder (w/broccoli?), etc, as long as it's a good quality cheese. Please don't use crappy commercial chedders, jacks or american!



olive oil is always my first choice, but you can also use oils flavored with chili, lemon or herbs

Brussel sprout Pesto

brussel sprouts (I didn't measure, but about 15-20 med size)
1/2 c. walnuts
1/2 c. paremsan cheese
1 lg clove garlic
1/2 c. olive oil (or less, you decide how loose you want it)

a pinch of red pepper flakes, S & P

Here's the method;

Place your greens/veg in the processor along with your clove of garlic, you want to chop these up first.

Add nuts, process until chopped fine, but don't process so long they turn into nut butter!

Add in grated cheese, again just process until mixed in.

Now turn the processor on a med speed and add in the oil in a slow stream until the pesto looks the way you want it. Turn off machine, taste for S & P. that's it.

One last tip when making traditional herb pestos like basil and cilantro....adding a small amount of italitan parsley will keep your pesto a bright green and add a certain "brightness"....try it!

Here are two of my favorite pestos

cilantro, jalapeno, pistachio (a variation of Fawn's recipe)
spinach, walnut, lemon

both with parmesan, garlic and olive oil

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