Cheese: Fail. Pasta: Fail. Dishes: Broken. Thank goodness for Adriana’s Pesto

18 Feb

Adriana and I love cooking together. Our kids are very close in age and have known each other since the very beginning, so we get together for sleepovers that involve kid activities by day and then massive food in the evening. Then the kids go to bed and we stay up talking all night.

Usually I walk away with excellent bloggable dishes that I can post for days. So I went into this one thinking I had it made.



Then, whether it was the wobbliness of an afternoon spent trudging the Arctic tundra for a sledding excursion, or the fact that the moon was 98.4 percent full (we checked), or that we should have waited until after we’d gotten a lot more things out of the way before having that first glass of wine, or just over-the-top plans that were far too ambitious…everything seemed to go wrong.



We tried to make cheese from a cool kids’ kit that Adriana got (the kids were not at  all interested, funnily enough). I ate the 1/4 tablet of rennet thinking it was crumbs from my crackers, but even with a new 1/4 tablet, the milk just wouldn’t curdle. We dumped it.



We followed the instructions to make home-made pasta (another fun-for-the-kids activity that they completely ignored) — we really did — but ended up with a solid hard ball of dough that resisted all attacks with the rolling pin. And I had forgotten to bring my pasta cutting machine anyhow (which annoys the bejeezus out of me because it was a wedding gift for a marriage so disastrous that we were divorced before it ever got used and it still hasn’t been used because well, shit happens and pasta, apparently, doesn’t).

My son knocked a glass over onto the proceedings which required crazy cleaning of parsley and countertops.



The steaks were beautifully seasoned, but stayed too long in the broiler in a crowd where anything that isn’t still bloody is considered horribly overcooked.

But, the pesto came out great and salvaged our reputation with the children (although they guessed pretty quick that the boxed pasta we used wasn’t at all homemade) and fortunately I didn’t break the lovely serving bowl it was in until after I took the pictures….

Garlic! Always a success.

Garlic! Always a success.

And all the disasters were accompanied with a lot of disbelieving laughter and if we shed tears it was not from sadness but from excesses of mirth. In the end, we all ate well enough, the broiled shrimp was terrific (will post later), and a wonderful time was had by all.



And here is Adriana’s pesto recipe. So simple, even two moon-addled lunatics like us couldn’t screw it up. Well, except for the bit about a bowl of it flying out of my hands and landing with a crash on the floor..but nevermind….

Definitely a success

Definitely a success

Good times. Very good times!



Adriana’s Basil Pesto

2 big bunches basil, cleaned, dried, and hard stems removed

½ Cup pine nuts

2 Tbs chopped garlic

½ Cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Cup Romano cheese

½ Cup Parmigiano Reggiano (you can play with the proportions of Romano to Parmigiano)

¼ tsp salt

25 peppercorns

Place first three ingredients in food processor and process until well minced. Add olive oil and pulse till smooth. Add remaining ingredients, process until you reach desired smoothness. Adjust seasoning and Done!

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Cilantro Pesto with Sunflower Seeds (Nut-free)

Basil Pesto with Walnuts

Hand-Crushed Basil Pesto

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