Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fusilli with Mint Pesto

Mint is the star ingredient of my blog today. Spring usually brings along with it a whole range of fresh veggies and herbs. Mint is one such herb that abounds the supermarket shelf this time of the year. As with any fresh herb, mint does not remain fresh for more than 4-5 days. Hence it becomes imperative that it be used as early as possible. Given that mint has an especially strong flavor, a tiny bit goes a long way. So to run through a big bunch in a single meal is quite difficult. I was looking at ways to preserve mint for more than just a few days and presto! - I thought of pesto :-)

Pesto is a sauce made of crushed herbs and garlic. Pesto is usually made of basil with pine nuts, garlic and olive oil. Here is my version of pesto made with mint, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil. This pesto lasts for more than a month when frozen.

Mint Pesto:

Ingredients:
2 cups mint leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
Salt to taste

Method:
  1. Coarsely chop all the ingredients except oilve oil in a food processor.
  2. Stream in olive oil and grind until a smooth consistency is obtained.
  3. Freeze in air-tight container.

Fusilli with Mint Pesto:
A variety of dishes can be made with mint pesto and here's a hearty pasta dish made with mint pesto. I have used whole wheat fusilli, though penne will work fine too.

Ingredients:
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 cup spinach (thaw, if frozen)
1 can black eye peas (if using dried beans, soak for 24 hrs and cook until tender)
1 tsp red chilli flakes
2 tbsp mint pesto
2 pinches nutmeg powder
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
8 pitted kalamata olives (optional)
1 big roasted red pepper (optional)
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 lb whole wheat fusilli

Method:
  1. Cook fusilli in a big pot of salted boiling water. Cook al dente.
  2. Heat olive oil in a saute pan. Add chilli flakes, garlic and onion. Saute until onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add spinach and saute for 2 min.
  4. Add wine and let it cook until spinach gets tender.
  5. Add mint pesto and sprinkle nutmeg powder.
  6. Add drained black eye peas and cook for 5 more minutes.
  7. Add fusilli. A little of starchy boiling water can be added if it gets too dry.
  8. Mix in parmesan cheese and lemon juice.
  9. Garnish with olives and roasted red peppers.
  10. Enjoy...!!

A closer look....

I will post more recipes with mint pesto in subsequent weeks.
Ciao.....

1 comment:

globalindyan said...

HG and I are huge pasta fans. This dish looks really awesome! Will be sure to ty it, esp. since I have a pot full of basil leaves ready to be plucked as well as mint leaves in the fridge. I am going to make a mint-basil pesto with your recipe.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am going to add you to my blogroll. Hope that's okay.