Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cilantro Pesto Orzo

This is our first pesto. I know that’s hard to believe, and now that I made it I can’t believe that it’s taken this long either. Not only is it incredibly flavorful, it’s also somewhat healthy, and so easy too. You just throw all the ingredients into a blender or food pro and blammo! Instant pesto. I suspect this pesto would be great on any kind of pasta, but it just so happens that this recipe calls for orzo.

Anyway, this is fresh and bright—smells fantastic and has a tiny bit of crunch from pistachios. Plus the little bit of parmesan makes it creamy and delicious. We served it with a fairly simple salmon, and it’s great as a side. On spaghetti it’d make a wonderful main too (and we’ll be trying that as well.) If you’re so inclined I think a little spritz of lemon juice on top would make it even better.

8oz Orzo pasta
1 bunch fresh cilantro
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup shelled pistachios
1 lime, juiced
salt to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chicken stock

I eyeballed all the ingredients, and it turned out great, but those are the measurements from the original recipe, which I got from Lipstick Blogger. To cook the orzo, follow the directions on the package. (Bring water to a boil, add the pasta and let it return to a boil, then cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain.)

Meanwhile, get out your food pro or blender (I tend to go for the food pro on things like this. It seems to work better for me.) Throw in all the ingredients through the salt (cilantro, garlic, vinegar, cheese, cayenne, pistachios, lime juice, salt) and blend until it forms a paste. Add the olive oil and blend again. Then add the chicken stock in small amounts (about a tablespoon) until it reaches the desired consistency. The recipe didn’t say what the desired consistency was, but I thought it should be more like a thick sauce.

Warm the pesto in a saucepan over low heat and stir until it begins to simmer. Let it cook a little bit to get some of the edge of the garlic out, then pour it over the pasta, mix it thoroughly, and serve! Splash with a little lemon juice if you feel like it. If you aren’t already a pesto lover, this one will certainly convert you. 

(click here for printable recipe)

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