Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cherry Tomatoes and Almond Pesto

By Paul Briand

When you think of pesto, you think of a combination of basil and pine nuts.

But pesto, by Genoese definition, means "to pound, to crush." So just about anything that you can pound or crush together can become a pesto sauce.

I was inspired by an article about pesto in the Wall Street Journal to try one made from cherry tomatoes and almonds.

The article offered a variety of interesting combinations: pecans, parley and dates; pumpkin seeds and spinach; walnuts and grapeseed oil, as examples.

I wanted to try the cherry tomatoes and almond combination because, as it turned out, I had cherry tomatoes and almonds readily available in the house.

Here's the short and sweet recipe that the Journal said came from PBS chef Lidia Bastianich.

2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes

1. In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, almonds, and garlic clove;
2. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and a bigger pinch of salt;
3. Puree the mixture and add the olive oil in a steady stream until the pesto emulsifies into a thick puree.

It is heartier and nuttier than your store bought pesto and certainly different from the basil and pine nut pesto that most people are accustomed to. But it's a welcome change when you can do it yourself.

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