This year, my family and I half-cheated Mother's Day. There was no bloody-mary-fueled brunch at our local diner, no heart-shaped pancakes or freshly-squeezed OJ in bed, but wait - we did have flowers! You see, this year as the moms of America took the day off, I sat in our kitchen watching my mom cook us breakfast. While many would agree it's not exactly standard protocol to let Mom takes the reigns, it's tough to argue with a homemade frittata and chocolate croissants. As I inhaled Mom's creation, I promised myself (and Hallmark) I'd make up for it by cooking dinner.
Unfortunately, by the time 6 o'clock rolled around my family wasn't even hungry. Turns out, one too many flakey and buttery croissants will put you and your stomach over the edge. The "in-between" stages of hunger are the worst, where one bite isn't enough but one plate is simply horrific. I quickly racked my brain for something quick and easy I could cook, preferably with leftovers for the week. Scouring the fridge, my eyes spotted two ingredients- Gourmet Garden Basil and a giant tub of parmesan cheese. Bingo (!!!!!), I was making pesto.
The beauty of pesto is in its simplicity. Basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Pulse your ingredients in a food processor or blender and minutes later, you're left with a silky sauce flavorful enough to coat your favorite noodles. Traditionally, most pesto recipes call for fresh basil but since we didn't have any on hand, I went with the next best (and in my opinion, better) thing. Perhaps why I'm so reliant on Gourmet Gardens is because the ingredients are full of flavor and can be adapted into various recipes (like a traditional fresh basil pesto) without compromising taste while still cutting back on cooking time. Aromatics filled our kitchen as I squeezed one whole tube of basil into the blender and just twenty minutes later, I had prepped and cooked a gluten-free meal, with pesto to spare.
Following the base recipe of GG's "Multigrain Spaghetti with Basil Kale Pesto," I substituted pine nuts for almonds and omitted the kale. That left me with a slightly sweeter pesto rather than a heartier, darker green pesto. Because this recipe is so simple, I have no doubt it would be just as ( if not more) tasty had I followed it precisely. However, as a home chef cooking on a budget, it's good to know GG recipes are adaptable to your own tastes and cooking needs. While my homemade spaghetti & pesto may not have been up to the level of homemade frittata and croissants, I can attest we all went to bed that night with happy stomachs and happy hearts. And today, Mom is that much happier because we've got a jar of homemade pesto in the fridge, which will be a wonderful accompaniment to the potato salad we're planning for dinner tonight.