Monday, August 1, 2011
Orecchiette with Mizuna Pesto
Purists we are not, since we seem prone to making pesto out of just about any available greens we have on hand. We're constantly tossing in variables -- jalapeno peppers, roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes -- just to keep things interesting.
This week, the object of our pesto-love was a Japanese green called mizuna. Sometimes called Japanese mustard, mizuna has a mild, yet tangy flavor, and an almost other-worldly bright green color when chopped. I normally like to put it in salads or use it as a sandwich topping. But, when Bryan from the Jen Ehr Family Farm booth at the market mentioned that he'd been making his mizuna into pesto, we decided to try our hand at it too.
Into the food processor went our bunch of mizuna (ends trimmed), 5 stalks of green garlic, and a liberal dose of olive oil. We set the pasta on to boil while we were making the pesto, then tossed the pasta with the pesto and a bit of reserved pasta cooking water.
I chose a bag of those lovely, cup-shaped, whole wheat orecchiette pasta for this dish, envisioning that the shape of the pasta would help to scoop up all of that lovely pesto sauce -- and I was right about that. We also used whole toasted pine nuts (instead of grinding them into the pesto) to give the pasta some additional texture.
So, next time you get tired of eating mizuna in your salad, think about making it into a quick summer pesto.
Classic Pesto (with variations)
©BURP! Where Food Happens
Want more? Read Lo's latest ruminations at DEVOUR Milwaukee, her Milwaukee Magazine blog.