I have lived in Boston for about two and a half years now and every spring I get a ridiculous flu-like bout of allergies which I have never before experienced. So this is my spring hell week and it’s bad enough this time that I lost my sense of smell – which also takes with it most of your ability to taste food. NOT fun. But I am starting to get my sense of smell back finally today so I am celebrating by making this yummy aromatic pesto. I got the recipe from The Kitchn which is fast becoming one of my more favorite food blogs. I love this recipe because the garlic gets cooked, so it is less overpowering than in regular pesto, and it adds a really mellow sweetness to the dish. I tweaked it ever so slightly, and I am super happy with the results:
1/2 cup dried mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
juice from 1/2 lemon
Add enough hot water to cover the dried mushrooms and set them aside. Place the olive oil, garlic and pine nuts in a large sauce pan – large enough to fit all the spinach into as well – and place the heat on medium high. The garlic and pine nuts should start to get lightly browned. Be sure to stir often and watch that things don’t get too brown too fast. Once the garlic and pine nuts are toasted, add the spinach and a generous pinch of salt. Stir the spinach so it gets coated with the oil and garlic and pine nut mix and starts to wilt. After about 45 seconds, turn off the heat and continue to stir. The spinach should be mostly wilted but not completely.
Add the spinach, garlic & pine nut mix to your food processor, add the remaining ingredients (including mushrooms AND their liquid) and pulse until it is combined. Taste and see if it needs more salt or lemon.
We are using this as a pizza topping tonight but it is awesome just slathered on some bread or with pasta.