Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter Pesto and Roasted Pear Tomatoes


I had a ton of parsley from LPO that I wanted to use up before we go away for the holidays, so I decided to try out the recipe that came on the tag, a winter pesto with rosemary and thyme. My rosemary and thyme are still doing great in the garden, and they usually last all winter. It was delicious - a light, fresh break from all the rich holiday cooking I've been doing.

Our very last tomatoes of the season have finally ripened up on the counter - about 2 pounds of tiny yellow pear tomatoes. I roasted them in the oven and froze them, so we can enjoy a little burst of summer anytime throughout the winter. The flavor is wonderfully concentrated, so a little goes a long way, and it was perfect with the pesto!

Winter Pesto:
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pinon nuts
1 large bunch of parsley (about 3 packed cups)
2 large sprigs of rosemary
4 large sprigs of thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (leave out if freezing)

Pulse garlic, olive oil and pinon in food processor until finely chopped. Add herbs and process until a fairly smooth paste is formed. Add salt and pepper as desired. Add parmesan, if serving right away. I froze some without the parmesan cheese, since I think it keeps better that way. I like to freeze pesto in Ziploc bags, smashed flat to about 1/4 inch thick. This way, when I want to use some, I can just break off a chunk.

When thawing pesto after it's been frozen, the rule is generally not to heat it too much - just defrost until it is soft and then toss it with hot pasta (and parmesan) to warm it up. With basil pesto, you don't want to cook it because that ruins the flavor, but with this pesto it might not damage the flavor as much.

Oven-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes:
2 lbs cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme (or two sprigs fresh thyme)
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400F. Slice cherry tomatoes in half, and toss them with oil, salt and thyme on a large baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes, until edges are slightly browned. Refrigerate or freeze.

Post a Comment