September 24, 2009 • Side Dishes
This time of year is a race against the weather. With a freakishly cold snap (well, not that freakish as it seems every other year we get this) early on in September, I was racing to harvest my huge crop of basil and make pesto this week.
This is just one handful of the basil I cut – really only about 30% of the plant – so I need to keep working on it before the frost really sets in. If you didn’t check out my post for pesto tips, you’ll want to give it a visit. My favorite tip is to freeze the pesto in ice cube trays then pop them out into a bag for a perfect “one recipe portion” of pesto.Once I finished making my pesto it was time to make dinner – something I haven’t been into much lately, I must confess – and I recalled a dish my daughter had told me she made recently that started with pesto rice. To make pesto rice, just make your standard rice recipe – I like brown rice best for it’s chewy and nutty taste, but you can use anything for this. After the rice is cooked, stir in pesto. I don’t like my pesto to be too overwhelming in a recipe, so I used about 1 tablespoon for every 4 servings of rice, but you can easily double or triple that if you like a stronger flavor. I also used pesto made without the cheese added (that’s how I make it to freeze, adding the cheese later as needed to recipes), but a traditional basil pesto with Parmigiano Reggiano would be fabulous too. Use this pesto rice as a jumping off point for other recipes – my daughter added shrimp and roasted red peppers for a complete dinner in a bowl. You could also top with sliced roast chicken, a nice piece of grilled salmon, or serve alongside steak. And if you’re looking for a bit of a dressed up rice dish for company, this would be perfect!