My son has a texture issue with food. It seems like it’s something that has just started, but the more I think about it, he’s been this way for quite a while. He’s not big on eating chicken on the bone, steak, hard to eat or gritty foods. While he can be adventurous when told what’s in a food, like sushi, that food better be smooth, silky and delicious. He’s tried regular pesto before and wasn’t too keen on it, so I wanted to create a new smooth pesto recipe for him. Did I also mention that he’s lactose intolerant? I couldn’t use real cream to make this new pesto but I had a cool idea of how to make it smooth and creamy, without cream. Here is an easy garlic creamy pesto with no cream. Enjoy!
These are the ingredients. It’s the usual suspects for pesto: olive oil, parmesan, garlic, nuts and green leafy things. While basil is usually used in pesto, I went with fresh spinach, since it contains lots of calcium and was a dollar a bag that week. I also went with walnuts, since that’s what I had in the fridge. Hey, let’s keep it frugal, right? I did toast the nuts just a bit before adding them to the ingredients.
Mince about 4 cloves of garlic. This recipe is meant to have a prevalent garlic flavor, but you can cut this down to 2 cloves, if 4 is too much. Place all of the ingredients in your blender. Yes, I said blender. If you want a really smooth pesto sauce that will coat your pasta (or gnocchi or whatever) really well, the blender is key.
Now here is the trick: Set blender to low and let the ingredients mix together. Next, take half a cup of HOT water, and pour it slowly into the blender as you turn the machine to medium speed. The hot water will emulsify the cheese and activate the smoothness of the olive oil. Those two will create a creamy, silky sauce that will provide a smooth mouth-feel. The garlic creamy pesto will taste creamy but without cream! If you are serving this over pasta, use some of the hot pasta water. Also, you can up the flavor by using hot chicken or vegetable stock.
Toss the garlic creamy pesto with a box of cooked pasta and serve immediately. Kids who will eat anything, like my girl, will end up looking like this:
While your “selective” eaters, like my boy, will end up looking like this:
I’d call this recipe a win-win.
Garlic Creamy Pesto (with no cream)
3 cups fresh basil or spinach
4 cloves of garlic, minced (or 2 cloves for light garlic flavor)
1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped (or whatever nuts you have on hand)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup very hot water
Place all ingredients, except the hot water, in the blender. Turn blender on low.
While mixture is blending, slowly pour in the hot water. Once it’s all incorporated, turn the blender to medium and let blend for 2 to 3 minutes, or until smooth.
Taste sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.
Toss finished sauce with cooked pasta, or serve over a protein of your choice. Serve immediately.