I love pesto but the raw garlic can sometimes be overpowering. A happy accident presented me with the opportunity to try a new technique. While making pizza yesterday I placed a cut bulb of garlic in the oven on my pizza stone. I thought it could roast as the stone cooled down. I forgot all about it and preheated the oven last night to bake cookies, forgetting I left the pizza stone and garlic bulb inside. One trip into the kitchen was all it took to remember.
I had to air the oven out before baking cookies but I had a lovely bulb of roasted garlic. This morning I was approved as a contributor to the Sunday Supper Movement, a blogging group whose mission is to bring back Sunday Supper Around the Family Table in every home. I love the idea and am thrilled to be participating. Even though we are down to just two, sitting down to dinner together is important to me. I hope I can contribute to the mission.
Now, back to that bulb of roasted garlic. Green is the theme for this month's submissions to Sunday Supper. I began to see how my happy accident and the green theme could work. I decided to use some volunteer herbs that recently sprouted in my raised garden beds and incorporate the roasted garlic into a pesto sauce. It turned out spectacular. Honestly, if I was served this dish at a restaurant I would be raving about it for days!
Roasting the garlic eliminated any heat and bitterness that garlic can add, especially if you use too much. I usually do add too much, then I have to add more herbs and olive oil to balance it out. The roasted garlic added an almost sweet element to the pesto allowing the pine nuts, cheese and herbs to shine. Michael is not a huge fan of pesto but he liked this version, even requesting it again for dinner. How's that for bringing people back to the table for supper?
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- ½ bulb roasted cloves garlic
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt (to taste)
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- To roast the garlic:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Slice off the very top of the garlic head. Place on a piece of foil and drizzle olive oil inside the head of garlic until it is filled and starting to run down the sides. Wrap tightly with foil and place on a cookie sheet and bake until tender and fragrant, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Peel outside off of bulb of garlic, then gently squeeze each clove out.
- For the pesto:
- Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Pour the olive oil into the food processor while still running and process until fully incorporated and smooth. I like to leave mine a little chunky. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the pesto to a serving bowl and mix in the cheese. Use immediately or freeze in ziplock bags with the air squeezed out.