Pesto should be one of the seven great wonders of the world.
Ever since I tasted pesto, about 8 or 9 years ago, I have been on a quest to find a way to incorporate this basil-kissed, olive oil-based sauce into my dishes. I realized pretty early on, that buying basil at the store is ridiculously expensive and therefore, stuck my first basil plant in my flower beds. Even tonight, I purchased one for $2.00 to use for this recipe and planted it after I plucked it’s fragrant leaves.
Over the years, I have multipled the number of plants by many, so as to put containers of pesto away for the winter months, and I am always interested to see a new type of recipe for pesto.
I always love those spinach artichoke dips found at restaurants, so I was thinking, wouldn’t this be delicious in a pasta dish along with adding in some basil and make it a sort of pesto sauce?
I happened to have just planted several basil plants in my garden, and I am praying daily that hail and tornadoes leave it alone. But anyway, I was stocked and all set to make this and experiment with the recipe. The result, I have to say, is pretty fabulous.
At first I dreamed about spreading it across a crunchy, garlicky piece of crostini. I fantasized about what that would taste like. I drooled a little, and then I got down to the business of making it.
I was correct. Oh my goodness, was it good.
You will need one can of artichoke hearts, sections or pieces. I really love using frozen ones and thawing them, but sometimes they are tough to find. So go ahead and get a can if you must.
Thaw or rinse them.
Toss them into a food processor and add in 2 cups of fresh spinach.
Also add in 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves.
Also, add in 2/3 cup of walnuts.
You will also need a heaping 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese. I used fresh grated, but in a pinch, the green plastic bottle will do. Just don’t tell anyone. I won’t rat you out, I promise!
Peel 3 cloves of garlic and toss them right in. I love food processors and the fact that they do all the work. And yes, it’s a lot of garlic…but it’s delicious and you can always buy some Tic Tacs for later.
And then add in one teaspoon of salt ( I use Kosher) and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
Put the lid on your processor and pulse it up a bit until it starts to break down.
Then slowly drizzle in about 1/2 cup of olive oil until it forms a thick paste.
And it should be thick enough to hold up on a spoon.
Slice some french bread about 1/4 inch in thickness. Drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and bake it in a 375º oven for about 10 minutes or just until it’s crispy on the outside but soft on the inside.
Spread these little babies with your Spinach Artichoke Basil Pesto….add a few chopped tomatoes.
If you want to, you can also serve this as a dip, or toss some with some pasta. Add grilled chopped chicken, sauteed mushrooms and toss it up. Superb!
But tonight…these crostini?
It was heaven, I tell ya.
Katie’s Printable Recipe – Basil Artichoke Pasta and Crostini
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