Don’t mess with Pesto

I don’t pretend to be a good cook, but there are a few meals that I do right. And pesto is one of them. Mine is kick-ass. That’s why we eat it weekly in the summer and usually just serve it straight up on pasta.  I’ve never been one to experiment with add-ins or toppings, because as the old adage goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  However, when we went to St. Louis’ new vegetarian restaurant and whiskey bar (yes, you read that combo correctly), Small Batch, I was inspired to branch out and try their pesto. It’s conventional with basil but had some crazy toppings.  And well, it was amazing. Soo amazing, that I was inspired to recreate it for my family later that week. My concoction is below. Please note, this is not Small Batch’s recipe, but rather my interpretation of it. Theirs was good…but mine was too. So here’s what I made:

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The bar at Small Batch.

Pesto:

Boil water and cook 1 lb. pasta (I used farfalle)

Meanwhile, in blender, puree:

3 cups packed basil
5 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil – add more as necessary to get everything to blend
1/4 c walnuts
salt and pepper

Pour mixture into large bowl and add:

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
1/4 cup half and half

Add cooked pasta. Mix well.

THEN, top with…

3 cups chopped fresh spring mix
1/2 jar sun dried tomatoes, diced
1/2 c. feta cheese
1/2 c kalamata olives, choppedPesto

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Me, taking in Small Batch.

Bon apetite!

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