A recipe for Jason:
I came home sick from school today. My fever is back. I slept and sweated all afternoon and then I got up and cooked. Cooking is always a benchmark for my mental health, it both gives me peace of mind and is a marker that I’m doing ok.
I had gone shopping last night to buy one thing, some kind of new spray that’s supposed to make it easier to vacuum up dog hair. The spray somehow pulls the hair up out of the weave of the carpet so that your vacuum cleaner can actually lift it away. The last time I cleaned the front room carpeting I actually did the whole thing with a lint roller and I’d like to avoid that manifestation of cleaning insanity again if I can help it.
So of course they didn’t have this mythical spray, which my friend Kim had recently told me about with excited gesticulations about the ease of it all, but frankly she may have dreamed this modern convenience early like Little Bigman’s grandfather having ecstatic visions of sink spigots. Anyway, they did have a hundred dollars in groceries that we can’t really afford, but you’ve got to eat and spinach was on sale for a dollar off.
This brings me to my recipe: spinach and walnut pesto with broiled turkey sausage. For my money it is both cheaper and better than traditional pesto. I came up with this one day back in the ville when I had a hankering for pesto, but only these substitute ingredients on hand. If you already know how to make pesto then simply swap the spinach for the basil and the walnuts for the pine nuts. Read no further. Go ye into your kitchen and blend.
The turkey sausage is a nod to Jes’ eating habits. Her no mammal rule runs us afoul of much foul. I like to throw the turkey brats into a broiler for about twenty five minutes, turning them every ten minutes to make sure they crisp all around. Cajun is better than not.
I’m not one for measuring, so to make this you’ll have to know a bit about what pesto is supposed to look like. I start by filling the Cuisinart with as much spinach as it will loosely hold. I cover this with a healthy swirl of olive oil and then blend on low. I do this three times until I’ve used about three quarters of a large bag of spinach. Ok, I just checked and I used eight ounces from a twelve oz bag of baby spinach. Write it down if you think it’ll help.
You’ll want to keep adding little amounts of olive oil so that you get a smooth consistency, but not so much that you’re drowning in oil. Next you cover the surface of your green paste with walnuts and you cover the walnuts with fresh grated parmesan. Parmesan is really one of those things that you can’t scrimp on. Please don’t buy that big Kraft jug of granulated cardboard pretending to be cheese. Buy the good cheese, buy the grater, grate the cheese; you’ll feel like a cook.
Add three little buttons of fresh garlic to this mix and blend again, adding sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. You might want to try two garlic buttons before you add the third, as I tend to like things with more garlic in them than you do. You can smell the garlic in my beat root humus before you turn off the ignition of your car. You can smell it in your dreams before I make it, like Little Bighorn’s grandfather having ecstatic visions of … crap, I used that already didn’t I.
Separately you’ll want to boil a few quarts of water with sea salt stirred in. The salt will actually help the water boil faster and flavors your pasta. When you have a rolling boil you can add your pasta, I like to use linguini for the recipe, but suit yourself. I like to use a timer with linguini and I like fourteen minutes. Some people prefer eleven. I really wouldn’t go past fifteen. Make sure you stir the pasta frequently or it will clump. You can also dump a tray of ice cubes in the pasta after you strain it. Stir the melting ice around in the pasta and it will prevent clumping.
Drain your pasta, return the pasta to the now empty boiling pan and mix in your pesto. Serve with a little additional fresh grated parmesan on each serving. You can slice the turkey sausage and serve in on a bed of the pasta, or serve it on the side. Then you can write a blog about it, walk your dog, grade papers and go to bed, just like me.