2014 was a good year for food movies. I don’t just mean films that involve some form of comestible but this year we saw a number of movies that use as their center, the culinary experience. Which I, of course, just die for.
Trip to Italy is my most recent obsession. Combine anything artistic with food and I’m in heaven. But comedy and food? Forget it. I’m a goner.
In fact, I was so in love with the film that it lingered on me for days. I kept seeing the meals and the all-too-short shots behind the kitchen walls. Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, of course complete the picture with their insane impressions and cranky charm.
It’s just perfect.
So I went out and filled my kitchen with Italian culinary staples the very next day.
However, food imitation can smack with hints of the impossible. Having tasted those simple but life-changing Italian meals I knew all too well there is just no recreating them.
But in the process I discovered “inspired by” can be just as wonderful. I trolled the Internet and flipped through my cookbooks and came across something I had never thought of before: that you can make pesto out of anything.
I mean, basically anything. My spidey sense would lead me to assume that whatever fill-in-the-blank ingredients would have to pair well with olive oil, garlic and your optional pine nuts. But that leaves the door wide open, ahem, vegetables.
So the recipe that follows is my California-in-100-degree-heat Pesto, the searching-for-a-bit-of-Italy-in-LA Pesto and let’s not forget the whos-Michael-Cane-impression-is-better Pesto.
This recipe made a wonderful new variation while I await the next opportunity to propel myself across the Atlantic. I hope it can serve similarly for you. And in the meantime, go see Trip to Italy right this very minute.
3 cups arugula
½ cup basil
½ cup spinach
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 clove garlic
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 baguette (gluten free or otherwise)
1. Place arugula into food processor. It may take some packing or piecemeal adding. 2. Blend until finely ground.
3. In the same fashion, add the basil and spinach…
4. …as well as the pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan cheese.
5. Through the safe lid of your food processor, drizzle in olive oil, while blending, until you reach your desired texture. I don’t oversaturate mine as I like it to still have some body to it.
6. You’re all done. Remove from blender, spread on baguette with a colorful heirloom tomato.
7. But be careful, it may cause you to attempt impressions of Hugh Grant for an extended period of time.