Pesto is something very fine and so versatile, that there are thousand ways to prepare this almighty "sauce"!
This time, I have made "Eggplant Pesto", because I wanted something that reflects the coming summertime and that would be a little less nutritious than the original "Pesto Alla Gennovese"...
I saw a similar recipe on the site "Napastyle" and made my own modifications in order to end up with this "Eggplant Pesto". It resulted in a creamy (thanks to the eggplant), voluptuous pesto that made me dream of Italy... I could litterally see myself sitting at a table in a paradisiac place somewhere in beautiful Italy! And I loved the nutty aroma of walnuts which combined itself perfectly with the smokey taste that the eggplant confer to this unique pesto...
A delicious combination that is very welcome when the temperatures are high and the cook if too tired to fiddle around in the kitchen for hours!!! And don't forget that it can also be converted into a wonderful dip or a paste for your crostinis, bruschette or fresh bread...
Makes one medium bowl.
1 Medium eggplant, ends trimmed
50g Walnuts, lightly toasted
3 Cloves garlic, chopped
18 Large fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 Tbs Olive oil (+ 2 Tbs)
4 Tbs Parmesan, grated
Pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
2. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
3. Let cool and then chop coarsely.
4. Fill a medium pan with salted water and bring to a boil
5. Add the entire eggplant and simmer covered until cooked through.
6. Drain the water from the pan and let the eggplant cool.
7. Heat 2 Tbs olive oil in in a small skillet over moderately high heat.
8. Add the garlic and sauté until light brown.
9. Add all the ingredients into the bowl of your mixer and process until well blended and totally pureed.
10. When serving the pesto in a bowl, sprinkle a bit of extra olive oil over it.
You could very well use strong Provolone cheese instead of Parmesan.
If you wish, you can roast the eggplant in the oven; it will take more time, but it will add a smokey flavor to your pesto.
In this recipe I used walnuts, but you are free to use any other toasted nut of your choice. Instead of using roasted garlic, process it fresh.
If you want a less calorific pesto, then reduce the quantity of olive oil.
You can also make this pesto in a mortar, but it will be a bit messy thanks to the eggplant!
Just toss a generous amount of this pesto on the pasta of your choice, use it as a filling for your lasagna, canellonis or to stuff pasta shells. Try it as a dip or as a spread for bruschette or eat it with fresh bread; it's heavenly!...
Eggplant Painting - Pic by www.rizibo.ch)