It was 8:30pm, and Mr. Bear walked into the kitchen. He hugged me and asked how I was doing. "It's so nice of you to check in on me!", I said. Deep down inside, I knew he was snooping around to see if he could nibble on something or figure out how much longer it would be until dinner.
Earlier that night, he told me to take my time. So I took pictures of my ingredients...
So I could explain to you, my dear reader, the importance of roasting a garlic...
And to show you the general process of putting together the world's best pesto.
Mr. Bear, in his typical ways, asked why it took 45 minutes to put together a little "dipping sauce".
In the end, Mr. Bear's inhaled his plate (twice the size of the one seen below) in less than 5 minutes and then chased it with a bag of chips and some whiskey on the rocks.
And you wonder why I call him Bear.
In all seriousness, this pesto is the best I have made to date. At first, I was worried that the taste of cilantro would be overwhelming. But it blended really well with the other ingredients and became very flavorful. This pesto is so versatile I wish I made triple the portion to save for later. It will be good for omelettes, sandwiches, meats, tacos, soups, pizzas.... pretty much anything. The roasted garlic is key- it elevates the flavors to a whole new level.
Cilantro Pesto with Roasted Garlic, Sundried Tomatoes, and Walnuts
1/2 pack of bow tie pasta (I like that the pesto sits inside the ripples of the bow ties, allowing maximum flavor in each bite)
1/2 cup of finely chopped cilantro leaves (about 2/3 of a bunch)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I pulsed it a few times in the Magic Bullet)
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 head of garlic
3 tbsp chopped sundried tomatoes
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Spicy sesame oil (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 385F. Take the head of garlic and chop off a little bit of the top, so it's easier to get the flesh out after roasting. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap with aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
2. In a medium bowl, mix cilantro, lime juice, sundried tomatoes, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes (if using). Add olive oil and dash of spicy sesame oil (if using) until the mixture becomes a paste, about 2 tbsp. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Once roasted garlic is cooled, the garlic should be soft enough to squeeze out of the skin. Add to pesto mixture and make sure to break up big chucks of garlic using the back of a spoon. Mix well and set aside.
4. Take a medium bowl of water to boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions until al dante.
5. Drain pasta and while pasta is still hot, mix with pesto (like how you would toss a salad). If the mixture is too dry, add 1 tbsp of cooking water at a time until the mixture is covering all the pasta. Serve immediately.