We are in the middle of the frigid winter, and like an idiot I decide that it is imperative that I consume a freshly made pesto for dinner.
Do you have any idea how pitiful basil looks in southern Ontario supermarkets in January? And how much they want you to pay for it?
But, one night last week, when I stripped off my hat, my mitts and my boots and put my socks on the heater to defrost, I wanted something to remind me of warm summer nights on the patio. Needed something to remind me, actually. Anything to call to attention the fact that winter will not be around forever.
Nothing reminds me of summer breeze quite like a light and flavourful pasta dish, not bogged down with heavy tomato sauces and the traditional winter fare (even though that is delicious too). So, Paul went to the supermarket and managed to find some basil that wasn't entirely black and spotty and some bright red grape tomatoes imported from God knows where, and I got out my food processor.
The recipe for this particular pesto comes from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan and what makes it unique is the use of cashews instead of the more traditional pine nuts.
While pine nuts are alright, cashews are my most favourite nut and when it comes to sauces, they add a creaminess that just can't be matched. Also, pine nuts are freaking expensive these days, due to a supply/demand issue - skyrocketing to fame nearly overnight a couple years ago. You can think of the pine nut as the Justin Bieber of the nut and seed world.
A couple weeks ago I nearly choked to death while in line at Bulk Barn when I saw just how much a pound of the suckers was worth ($30 a pound?!). So, I only use them when absolutely necessary to the integrity of a meal.
While you won't get points for traditional accuracy, using cashews instead of pine nuts makes for a pretty cool pesto, and the added creaminess makes it a little more winter-appropriate. Around the blogosphere, this pesto is also rumoured to make a pretty darn fantastic pizza sauce or sandwich spread too!
Find the recipe here!