Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Basil Pesto Orzo

With the herbs growing quickly in the garden, it is time to get serious about cleaning last year's stash out of the freezer.  Last year, I froze 14 half pints of basil pesto -- really, just the beginnings of pesto, as I run basil leaves and olive oil through the food processor with a little garlic, then freeze.  Later in the year, I thaw and add salt and parmesan cheese to make a pesto topping.

This is exactly what I have done here.  The orzo, which we will see again later in the year with an awesome zucchini recipe, gives the pesto a nice texture.  However, feel free to use any pasta shape you like.

1 half pint frozen basil pesto (preserved from last year)
1 box orzo, cooked (on sale for $1.09)
1 5oz. bag shredded parmesan cheese (on sale for $1.67)
ground sea salt
ground pepper

Cook orzo, then combine in a saute pan with basil pesto and sea salt to taste.  When thoroughly combined, add the parmesan, and continue heating until melted.  Top with fresh ground pepper.  Makes 3-4 side dish or lunch servings.

The Analysis

Fast:  If you make sure to thaw your basil pesto ahead of time, this cooks up in under 20 minutes.  Don't worry, we'll deal with making the pesto later this summer if you don't have any on hand.  Whatever you do, don't succumb to the $3.39 an ounce version in the stores!

Cheap:  This comes in at $2.76, plus a few cents for the salt and pepper.  This is a case in which preserving your herbs really makes a difference.  I got four lunches out of this for about 70 cents each.

Good:  Yum.  This is one of my favorite lunches, or it makes a nice dinner with some grilled salmon.
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