Sunday, July 19, 2009

Basil, Sweet!

The fabulous $2.99 Sweet Basil plants at Trader Joes are the perfect excuse to make pesto, and a 8+ hour shift at KGO is the perfect excuse to make White Bean & Basil Spread with No-Kneed "Awesome" Bread.

My frugal pal Vanessa gave me the tip to use cashews instead of pine nuts in pesto. You still get that sweet, mellow, nutty richness, but at half the price. I also replaced Parmesan with less-expensive Asiago with no complaints from the co-workers who gobbled it up.

White Bean & Basil Spread

1/4 cup toasted, unsalted cashews
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup fresh arugula leaves, packed
1/4 cup Asiago cheese, grated
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cans (14 oz) white kidney (cannellini) beans, drained & rinsed*
water or chicken broth as needed

Place the first 5 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and whirl to combine. Add the beans and puree until smooth, adding water or broth to thin as needed.

Makes about 3.5 cups

*I usually use dry beans when I make white bean spreads, but I was short on time and the cans were only $.89 each at TJs - well within my limits of frugality

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