I was stuck with a lot of excess herbage in my refrigerator this week. I bought a few different fresh herbs for Easter and other miscellaneous meals, such as buying mint to make Cathy's soba noodle recipe. I had far more herbs than I could easily use before they expired, so it was time (or should I say "thyme"? ha ha) to use them all up.
I wanted to make some kind of sauce out of them, although I also contemplated herbed biscuits or popovers. I decided in the end that the easiest and cheapest thing to do would be to just smush them all together into a pesto.
Some people are "purists" about pesto. I never realized until recently that there is a vocal group out there who insist that pesto must be a garlic/basil/nut/parmesan blend. That's sort of silly. Pesto, like risotto, is not about the ingredients, but the method. The word pesto comes from the fact that you grind your ingredients up in a pestle (pesto being the Italian word for pestle). You can grind up any assortment of herbs this way and still call it pesto. Heck, what really makes my pesto inauthentic is that I used a food processor.
What did I use? I had mint, thyme, tarragon, basil (although only a few useable leaves), oregano, scallions and parsley. I also had garlic and good parmesan. In my freezer were a couple of containers of different nuts. I went to work trying to figure out which herbs would be best together.
My pesto was not a very vibrant green color. It also was a very different taste. Sometimes I found I tasted several different things popping out of me in one bite. Other times it seemed one bite tasted one way and one bite tasted another way. It needed more salt. I should have used more cheese.
I added some roasted cherry tomatoes to the pasta because I have that vegetable guilt thing going.
I still have some other herbs left. Perhaps I'll get to those biscuits before they go bad, or I'll make a nice omlet.
My amounts are totally not measured. I just went with what I had.
Linguine with Random Pesto
1 small handful mint leaves
1 large handful fresh oregano
2 good handfuls fresh parsley
A few leaves of basil
4 cloves garlic
Toasted hazelnuts (I'll wager around 3/4 cup)
Copius amounts of parmesan, grated
Two pints cherry tomatoes, roasted with olive oil and salt (optional)
1 pound linguine
Grind the first 6 ingredients in a food processor. Add enough olive oil to make a smooth paste. Mix in the cheese.
Toss with tomatoes and hot cooked linguine.