Sunday, May 14, 2006

Pesto & Chicken Pesto Sandwich


I just can't resist the pungent, fresh flavor of
basil. And now, I am totally turned on to pesto!
I grew several beautifully bountiful basil plants
(try saying that 3 times fast) about 2 summers
ago, but due to morning sickness, I was never
able to get around to making the pesto. I planted 2 basil bushes about two weeks ago, so
hopefully I will have better luck this time around.

2 c. basil
1/2 c. olive oil

2 T. pine nuts, toasted (or walnuts, if you prefer)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 t. salt

1/2 c. freshly finely grated Parmesan (NOT THE STUFF IN THE GREEN CAN)

Toast the pine nuts in a dry saute pan until lighlty brown. Let cool. Place basil leaves, nuts, garlic and salt in bowl of food processor. Blend until finely chopped. With motor running, slowly pour olive oil through feed tube. Remove basil mixture from food processor and stir in parmesan. Refrigerate until ready to use. Makes about 1 cup. This will be enough to flavor about 1 pound of cooked pasta.

Possible uses: Toss with freshly boiled pasta, chopped tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, and/or other vegetables of your choice for a yummy quick meal. Swirl in a tablespoon or two in tomato soup. Spread on chicken sandwiches (photo to follow). Add to mayonnaise for a flavorful sandwich spread.

To note: Pesto can be frozen in ice cube trays and wrapped individually once frozen. You can then use it whenever you need it!

Chicken Pesto Sandwich

Slices of sourdough bread

Slices of fresh tomato

Grilled sliced chicken
Shredded italian cheese blend or mozzarella

I was planning on making these sandwiches pannini-style by lightly brushing olive oil on the slices of bread and toasting them on the grill. Of course, after planning this meal I remembered that the grill was out of gas. Lucky me! So I toasted the bread in the toaster, slathered on some pesto, then layered the other ingredients. I ended up with the cheese on top, then broiled them open-faced til the cheese was toasty. These were so yummy!! They were somewhat inspired by sandwiches Skyra & I shared once on a girls' day out. Enjoy!!

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