Monday, March 12, 2012

as easy as AAB!

I remember the first time I ever had basil pesto. I was in the city for a high school "field trip", and we went to some not-so swanky italian restaurant. I swear thought I had stumbled upon some new culinary nirvana. From then on, every time I stepped into a restaurant that served the green pasta, I would order it without even looking at the rest of the menu.

Now that I've attempted to cut a bit of the grease and cheese off my plate, I can't whip up this culinary dream as much as I'd like. Cue the improvising.

I saw this recipe by Giada De Laurentis - perhaps the most frustrating cook on the food network -- who can eat globs of pasta, cheese, and fried food and look THAT good!? No one, I reckon, hence why she seems to take a bite of what she cooks and moves on to cooking the next meal that I gain 4 pounds just by watching her cook.

Anyway, that recipe looked FANTASTIC, so I altered it just a tinyyy bit and came up with my own little bit of paradise that I don't feel as guilty eating as I do when I eat pesto in a restaurant, served in a nice pool of its own grease.

Using the avocado instead of olive oil, spares you from using a processed oil and gives you a good, natural source of omega 3s!

AAB Pesto (Avocado-Arugula-Basil Pesto)
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1-2 cups arugula
  • approximately 1 cup fresh basil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • whole wheat pasta
  • tomatoes for garnish
  • almonds/pine nuts/walnuts for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

-Boil the pasta in a pot of salted water until cooked to your liking

-Cut open and pit the avocados. Add to a food processor and puree until smooth

-Blend in the lime juice, this is more to keep the avocado from turning brown than for flavor -- although I think the acidity adds a bit of something

-Slowly add in the arugula, basil, and garlic, pureeing as you add.

-Add salt and pepper to taste

-Alter the amount of arugula, basil, and garlic to your liking.
When I made it last, I used a TON of arugula. This results in more pesto, with less calories per bite!

-Once all the ingredients are pureed, and your pasta is cooked, remove your pasta from the water with a slotted spoon. I find this works better than draining with a strainer in this case, because the extra water on the pasta helps the pesto to spread and coat the pasta. Mix the pasta with the pesto and smile.

-Garnish with chopped tomatoes and nuts of your choice.
 Store any remaining pesto in the smallest airtight container you can fit it in to avoid browning and use in the next 2-3 days. I used the remaining pesto on everything for the next few days. My favorite was on a wrap with some (more) arugula, tomatoes and roasted red peppers! 

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