Sundried Tomato and Almond Pesto – and free olive oil!
If you’ve been reading this blog for any time at all, you know that I’m all about eating in season. I rarely buy a a tomato in the winter, I hate being forced to pay $4 for a small package of limp herbs off-season, and I cringe with guilt every time I know something has been flown thousands of miles to get to my grocery because it’s not in season here. But one of the wondrous joys that comes from putting food up during the summer and fall is that I can enjoy it all year long – free of cost and guilt!Drying tomatoes at home is really quite easy. If you get them really dry, you can store them in the pantry, but I actually prefer mine with some moisture left in them, so to avoid mold, I store them in the freezer.The pesto starts with a cup of them added to a food processor……along with a cup of toasted sliced almonds. You can use whole if you like – I just happened to have these in the freezer, which by the way is where nuts should be stored to prevent them from going rancid.I used some of my roasted garlic……along with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.I wanted to include some fresh basil, but instead tossed in some pesto I had made with last summer’s crop. Pulse all of this up until it’s ground up, then start drizzling in olive oil until you achieve a thick paste-like texture.I know I say it every month when I’m giving away a bottle of Italian olive oil from my friends at Gourmet Cooking & Living, but let me say it again: always buy extra virgin olive oil. I personally opt for authentic small producers from Italy, and you can also enjoy those selections by joining the Italian Olive Oil of the Month Club. This month’s selection is the Magaria Limited Edition from the Castelvetrano hills of Sicily. This limited edition oil was produced from the very first olives of the season, resulting in a superior quality and lower acidity level. The oil is unfiltered, leaving all of those healthy polyphenols in the oil and giving it a nice fruity and spicy flavor.Extra virgin olive oil really stands out when used as a finishing touch or in uncooked dishes like pesto. Spread the pesto on cheese, crackers or crostini. Or roll it up in a chicken breast. Or better yet, check back on Wednesday to see what I did with it!
Want to try the Magaria Limited Edition Olive Oil from Sicily, provided by Gourmet Cooking & Living? Just comment below and tell me if you put up any foods last summer or fall and you’ll be entered. I’ll pick a winner on Thursday, so post your comment by midnight on Wednesday. Good luck!
- 1 cup sun-dried tomato halves, sliced
- 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 12 cloves garlic, roasted
- 1 tablespoon pesto sauce (basil)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Pulse tomatoes, almonds, cheese and garlic together in a food processor until roughly chopped. Add pesto and with blade running, drizzle in olive oil until a thick paste forms. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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