Monday 11 June 2007

Summer is here....(or what to feed a picky kid!)

Is it really, though?
It's certainly hot these days, but just last friday Rome was absolutely flooded in rain and yours trully finally got back home from work drenched to the bones!
then again, the positive side is I didn't have to bother watering the plants, so that's one plus, I guess.
Anyhow....being that it's summer, and being in a summery mode I went food shopping on saturday (as you do) and bought a basil and a parsley plant, for the astonishing overall cost of 2.00 euro!!!!!
and so, fresh basil and hungry baby.....tadaaaa make some fresh pesto for his dinner.
if you're sick of cooking the usual soups and casseroles for your kids well then you really must try making them a plate of pasta with pesto.
I've still to meet a little one who won't go bonkers when presented with pesto, I don't know why!!!
And you can fiddle with pasta al pesto by adding cherry tomatoes or ricotta cheese to make it a one meal dinner - any mother will agree with me, they are absolute time and stress savers!!!
Pesto is sooooo easy to make, the most important ingredient being good basil, the best is certainly the genoese basil, with its small, oval, pale green leaves, and good extra virgin olive oil.
traditionally you should really make pesto with a pestal and mortar, but it can be a little more energy and time consuming then the good old magimix.

Pesto alla genovese
So what you do is take five big handfuls of basil leaves, three quarts a glass of olive oil, 3 spoonfuls grated parmesan cheese and three of pecorino cheese, 1/2 clove of garlic (the traditinal recipe actually calls for 2, but I think it's a tad eccessive, and could end up compromising your social life), one spoonful of pine nuts.
In the baby version you might prefer to leave out pine nuts if you're afraid of your child being allergic to nuts.
Just put everything in the magimix and give it a few short blasts. you want everything to be crushed and mixed together, but you also want it to retain a little of its crunchiness.

I didn't add salt to the recipe because I'm assuming you're making it for a small child. All you have to do is add salt and a little pepper (I know, it's not in the real and original recipe, but I add pepper to anything I eat) to the pesto destined to the adult's dinner.
My advise is to make a big batch of it, because pesto can really be used with and for anything.
A few spoonfuls on a caprese salad, mixed with cream cheese and spread over a baguette instead of your usual butter, on a bruschetta with slices of tomato, in cuscus....on white fish, on grilled prawns....I'm off on a tangent now!!!!!!!!!
But really there's no limit to it's uses, and again the great thing is that in one go you've prepared a great meal for a hungry little tsunami generally hyperpicky about his food, and dinner for the poor exausted parents, in no time and certain success.

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