Dried Tomato Pesto

In honor of some big news coming up this week, I’ve decided to change things up a little this time around.

CM has been running for nine months now, but this is the first post in its new home on the internet: cravingmadblog.com! Dani bought me a domain as an early birthday present, and now the ads, and long url are a thing of the past. Keep an eye out for other subtle changes that will come over the next few weeks.

And now, back to the food. Considering how long the blog’s been running, I guess it’s no real surprise that I’ve hit multiple periods when I haven’t come up with anything “worthy” of a post– whether I’m too busy, uninspired, or just forget to take pictures. Going forward, I figure I can fill in the gaps with recipes for a single component–in this case, a sauce–rather than an entire meal. Since these posts will be shorter than usual, I’ll try to take more pictures, and walk you through the methods in greater detail.

This dried tomato pesto is really easy, and versatile–you can use it on pasta, pizza, grits, sandwiches, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. What’s more–it comes together quickly, and is ready to use immediately.  I’ve heard that traditional pesto  contains pecorino cheese (a tasty, but hard to find cheese made from sheep’s milk), and pine nuts, instead of parmesan and almonds…but since I couldn’t find either of those, I wanted to save you the effort.

Let’s cook.

You’ll need:

3 Cups Dried tomatoes

1 Cup Toasted Almonds*, crushed

1 Cup Basil, sliced thinly

4 Cloves of Garlic, sliced thinly

1 Cup Grated Parmesan* Cheese

1 Lemon, juice and zest

2 Cups Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Soak the dried tomatoes in hot water for at least ten minutes to soften them. As an added bonus, this step will also help tone down some of the concentrated sourness (which helps, since you’re going to add lemon juice later anyway). Once they swell up, and soften, slice them into thin strips, dry them off, and transfer to a large bowl.

2. Toast your almonds in a large frying pan on medium heat until they are fragrant.  Once toasted, crush the almonds into a coarse, sand-like powder, and add to the tomatoes.

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3. Slice the garlic, and basil thinly, and add to the mix. Add the grated cheese–in this case parmesan, in lieu of pecorino–and mix well. Add lemon juice/zest, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Transfer to a blender, and pulse until a thick paste forms. (Note: I used an immersion blender, so I did all of the mixing in the same bowl.)

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4. Stir in the olive oil, and extra lemon juice to loosen up the paste to your desired consistency. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as needed. Finally, transfer the pesto to a jar, and store it in the fridge– just make sure you keep the top covered with olive oil to retain freshness. The oil keeps air off of the pesto, and helps preserve it for several weeks–if it lasts that long!

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This is good on almost anything, but sometimes simple is better. This time, I mixed about a tablespoon of pesto with some al dente pasta, and finished with arugula, and extra almonds. If you disregard the time it took to make the pesto, you’ll be eating in about twenty minutes.

Done.

 

 

 

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