Monday, March 21, 2011

Asparagus Pesto

I followed this recipe somewhat loosely, mostly because I was under a little bit of a time crunch. I will definitely make this again, and will likely follow the recipe a little closer, but this is what I did tonight:

1 bunch baby asparagus spears (about 2.5 inches in diameter), ends broken off
1 & 1/3 oz (2 2/3oz packages) fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 4.25oz package pine nuts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for topping
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8oz Barilla Plus angel hair pasta

In a food processor, add basil, pine nuts, garlic, cheese and olive oil, pulse until blended but not too much.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes.

You could drain it, but I chose to take the asparagus out of the water with tongs and rinse them with cold water in a colander, immediately adding the pasta to the water so you don't have to wait for more water to boil.

While pasta is cooking (approx 6 minutes), cut heads off asparagus and save for garnish. Add asparagus to basil mixture and pulse until big pieces are blended.

Drain and rinse pasta with cold water, toss with pesto, garnish with asparagus heads and serve.

The original recipe called for lemon juice and I think I would add that next time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tortilla Soup

This is my adaptation of a recipe I found when I googled "tortilla soup".

6 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/4 cup garlic-infused grapeseed oil (we bought a bottle from Chateu St. Jean in Napa last summer)
1/2 large white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large poblano chile, seeded, veins removed, chopped
2 4oz cand Ortega Fire Roasted diced green chiles
2 14.5oz cans Swanson vegetable broth
1 cube Not-Chick'n broth seasoning
1 14.5oz can Hunts Fire Roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Sour Cream (light)
Shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, whatever you like)
Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped

If you are starting with somewhat old, dried out tortillas, great. If not and you are starting with relatively fresh tortillas, put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 200°F for 10-15 minutes to dry them out a bit. It is best to start with tortillas that don't have a lot of moisture in them.

Cut tortillas in half; cut halves into 1/4-inch strips. In 3-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Fry strips in oil, 1/3 at a time, until light brown and crisp. Remove from pan; drain on paper towels.

Add onion to oil, cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and chile; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in broth, tomatoes, broth cube and salt. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes. .

Divide half of tortilla strips among 4 individual serving bowls; ladle in soup. Top with cheese; garnish with remaining tortilla strips and cilantro. Add a dollop of sour cream and/or avocado.