Growing up, if I got the sniffles, my father would pull out his page-long list of curatives and have me go through them one by one. Everything from drinking lemon juice, to taking Zinc and Vitamin C, to chugging AirBorne disintigrated tablets, to sticking my head under a towel and hovering over boiling water to “steam it out.” The worst of these cures was chewing a whole clove of raw garlic. That one sticks with you. For days.
I can’t say any of those things made colds go away faster, but trying to be proactive at the onset of a scratchy throat has stuck with me. When I feel under the weather, I still go for the garlic – but this time, I roast it and blend it with fresh basil, olive oil, Parmesan, and pine nuts for a rich and creamy pesto sauce. Here’s my recipe, and I recommend using it with Rotini so the pesto gets in every swirl of pasta.
Get Well Pesto
- One large bunch of basil, rinsed and de-stemmed
- 1/4th cup of Olive Oil
- 1/4th cup of pine nuts
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- 1 whole head of garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A food processor
1. First, chop the tip off of the head of garlic so that every tip of every clove is taken off. Put in a microwave safe bowl, tops up, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 1 minute. (Or, you can roast it for an hour in the oven, but who has that kind of time?!)
2. Once the garlic has cooled enough to touch, remove the cloves from the head and put them into a food processor. Cover with the olive oil, and cram in as much basil as you can. Blend.
3. Add your pine nuts, more basil, and parmesan, packing it down and adding olive oil as needed so it blends properly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep tasting until it has the right balance of sweet and salty. If it’s bitter, try adding more parmesan (the bitterness comes from basil that’s out of season or has flowered).
4. Toss with your favorite pasta, extra pine nuts, and heirloom tomatoes (the sweetness of the tomatoes compliments this dish wonderfully).
5. Get well! And… hold off on kissing anybody for a while.