Recipe of the Week: Pesto, and Then Some

FasterSkierAugust 11, 2010
This recipe for pesto combines fresh basil with other delicious summery ingredients

Yeah right, we’re all skiers, and we all need to eat carbohydrates. Pesto, the classic Italian combination of basil, pine nuts, garlic, cheese and olive oil, is a staple.  Relatively easy to prepare, it meets a skier’s carbohydrate needs. However, one doesn’t live by pasta alone. As the chief dishwasher as well as cook in our house, I’ve adapted the classic pesto recipe for to incorporate vegetables and protein, while minimizing the number of dishes to wash.


3 cups basil leaves, packed

3 cloves garlic, halved

3 ½ tablespoons toasted pine nuts

½ teaspoon salt

½ – ¾ cup olive oil

1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese

1 lb. turkey sausage

1 ½ cups cherry or grape tomatoes

1 ½ cups green beans

4 cups uncooked pasta ( a bit less than 1 lb.)


The finished product

Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove.  As it’s heating up, place basil, pine nuts, salt and garlic in a food processor with ¼ cup of the oil and pulse until it’s chopped up.  Add additional oil as necessary to achieve a smooth consistency; you may not need the entire ¾ cup. When you’ve achieve the consistency you like, transfer the pesto from the food processor to a large bowl.  Set aside.

Clean the green beans. Cut off the stems and halve them; set aside. Clean the tomatoes; cut them in half and set aside.

Grill or sauté the turkey sausage according to your taste, and slice into ½” thick pieces.

When the water is boiling, add the pasta. Cook for 5 minutes; then add the green beans.  When the beans and pasta are al dente, add 1 tablespoon of the cooking water to the bowl of pesto. Drain the pasta and beans; add to the pesto. Add the tomato halves and the cooked sausage and toss.

NOTES: Be conservative with the salt, as some brands of parmesan cheese can also be salty and the salt can overpower the dish. There are also a number of possible variations with this meal: one can sauté the sausage with peppers and Swiss chard; one can substitute broccoli for green beans, one can substitute leftover cooked chicken for sausage. Thos are just a few of the things I’ve done.

Wine recommendation (for those so inclined):  Vernaccia di San Gimignano.


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