Lettuce Pesto

Lettuce Pesto

A tasty pesto can be made with the combination of any greens and nuts plus some garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Create your own tasty combinations using your favorite greens and nuts. Lettuce leaves are another green that makes a delicious pesto. Any lettuce leaves will work including baby spinach, kale, or any small greens. The only exception is Iceberg lettuce – the water content is too high to use and it will make a watery pesto.

INGREDIENTS
4 cups small lettuce leaves or larger leaves with stems removed and torn into 2” pieces
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped or pressed through a garlic press
¼ cup loosely packed parsley leaves, no stems
½ cup toasted nuts, such as pine, walnuts, or pistachios
½ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper, more to taste
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
½ – ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS
Add the lettuce, garlic, herbs, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and cheese to a food processor then pulse until finely chopped. With motor running, add the oil in a slow stream, using only ½ cup. If a more fluid consistency is desired, add more oil, a tablespoon at a time, and blend until incorporated and the desired consistency is achieved. Add salt and pepper to taste. Store in the refrigerator for one week or in the freezer for 6 months. Serves 6.

Blistered Cherry Tomato Sauce

Blistered Cherry Tomato Sauce

Use this easy, versatile sauce as a topping for bread, soft cheeses, scrambled eggs, beans, or even added to a sandwich. You can also add some cream and toss with pasta and a little pasta water to make a delicious pasta dish. This sauce uses only six ingredients and comes together quickly. It’s perfect if you have a surplus of cherry tomatoes and want to make the sauce ahead for a quick dinner or even freeze.

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 carton cherry tomatoes, rinsed and dried
2 large cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

INSTRUCTIONS
Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. When the pan is very hot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the cherry tomatoes when the oil starts to smoke. Cook, stirring the tomatoes until they blistered on all sides. After about 5 minutes when they start to pop, crush the tomatoes, reduce the heat to medium, and add the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon of red pepper, and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper to taste preference. Cook over medium until the tomatoes are very soft about 1-2 minutes longer.

To serve with Toasted Bread
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, shredded or chopped
Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese to taste
Thinly sliced toasted bread

Pour the tomato sauce into a bowl. Top with the fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese and serve with toasted bread. Or spread over the bread pieces and sprinkle with the herbs and cheese. Serves 6.

To Serve as a Topping
Shredded or chopped fresh herbs
Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese, if desired

Pour the sauce over soft cheeses, scrambled eggs, beans, or add to a sandwich. Top with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese. Serves 6.

 To Serve as a Pasta Sauce
2 tablespoons cream
¾ pound pasta
2 tablespoons shredded basil
Fresh grated Parmesan Cheese to taste

When the tomatoes are very soft, stir in 2 tablespoons cream, and then keep warm. Bring a large pot to boil, generously season with salt. Cook the pasta per the package directions. Remove 1/2 cup of pasta water and then drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the cherry tomatoes. Stir and add ¼ cup of pasta water to make a sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more pasta water, one tablespoon at a time and up to 4 tablespoons, until you achieve the proper sauce consistency. Serves 6.