It's been a great year to grow basil. Some plants are about 45" tall and that has never happened before with any basil in my garden. Since there's still some pesto in the freezer from last year, I haven't made too much more. We don't go through it so fast these days because we mostly don't eat grains, meaning no pasta or bread -- and those are the things that pesto is just so wonderful on. I know, I know. But this is why I've been looking for other ways to love it besides soups and marinara sauces.
In the last few weeks, I've made pesto cream sauce four times. Mind you, that is a lot of cream. There are many versions out there, but I think I found our favorite way that doesn't take too much time and doesn't use flour. Since it's a good amount of sauce, cut-up grilled or roasted veggies and a protein can be added for a stew effect. I've sort of gotten into the habit of lining a sheet pan with foil, coating the vegetables with olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper, and popping the whole mess under the broiler for 5 minutes, then turning everything over, and back in for another 5 minutes. I started doing this because eggplant sautes weird but grills beautifully. And I grew eggplant this year.
The photos are before and after pictures of an Italian sausage and vegetable batch. It works well with chicken as the protein and last night we had it over steamed broccoli alongside baked salmon. It goes without saying, it will be great on any kind of pasta.
I'm going to make more pesto after all.
Pesto Cream Sauce
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup water
2 T. butter
1/4 to 1/3 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
A chunk of cream cheese
Place the cream and water in a saucepan and heat up, but don't allow to boil. Add the butter and stir in the pesto. Lastly, add the Parmesan cheese. If too thin, add a chunk of cream cheese, the magic ingredient.
Also posted over at Food Renegade.