Pesto sauce. I made my own pesto sauce today. To some, this might not seem like a big deal, but for someone who’s had pesto sauce once, twice, maybe thrice in her life, this is very much a big deal.
Also making it a big deal is that up until recently, I consumed my pasta in tomato based, or rich, creamy sauces. Sometime last year, I came across a Popsugar recipe to make an avocado sauce for pasta, so I tried that. It was delicious. But I avoided pesto sauce. It looked weird. Not only that, what the hell is pesto?
A few days ago I was scrolling through Facebook and watched one of those food cooking videos. Buzzfeed. Tasty. Goodful. I don’t know. I didn’t save it, or tag someone to share like I sometimes do, so it’s lost forever somewhere in my feed.
The sound was off as I watched the short two-minute video. The camera shot from above showed two hands (no other body parts) drizzling olive oil into a pan in circular motions, then adding chopped asparagus, sliced cherry tomatoes, cubed grilled chicken breast, scooped pesto sauce and steaming penne pasta—in that order. Fast forward through the mixing, then voilá! Pesto penne pasta.
For some reason it didn’t look weird to me. It looked delicious.
Due to laziness, I didn’t go grocery shopping this week, so I had to scrape together each meal with whatever I already have. Last night was chicken and broccoli. The night before was leftover homemade meatballs from my weekend trip to Boston. Pasta, like tuna, is always a safe go to. As I scanned the fruits and vegetables in my fridge, I remembered the video.
Minus the pesto sauce, I had everything. So I got to freestyling. I could’ve looked up the recipe, but I decided to wing it instead. I made it my own. I had to. Where the video used chicken breast, I added chicken thighs; cherry tomatoes, I had grape tomatoes. But I was stuck on the pesto sauce. That, I would have to look up how to make. If I could make it.
My heart raced as I pulled up Google. My mouth was already salivating at the thought of devouring the “exotic” pasta dish. I didn’t want to be disappointed in not being able to make the sauce.
Jackpot! I had everything. I had to sub my dried basil for fresh basil leaves and already-grated Parmesan for the fresh cheese the recipe called for. Oh, well. I was all set with the walnuts, fresh garlic and olive oil. Again, I winged it with the measurements. The recipe was for 16 servings, and I was looking to cook just two for little ol’ me. I was not doing math.
As I whipped up the sauce in my food processor, I laughed at my transition into a budding Suzie Homemaker. Three years ago, or maybe even five, my kitchen gadgets were a toaster and blender. Not even a microwave, which I’ve never owned, nor do I want to. Today I have a NutriBullet, Cuisinart Griddler, air fryer, food processor, and my newest addition, a programmable slow cooker. I even own a whisk, garlic press and spiralizer!
My penne was tasty, and not just because of the zesty sauce. I had seasoned the pasta water with Adobo, pepper and garlic powder before adding the noodles. My kitchen and apartment smelled delicious. I was proud of myself. Not only had I ventured to try something new, but I was successful.
I sent a picture text to a cousin and friend. I posted it on a closed Facebook group and boasted about my culinary skills. I’m single and live alone, so I don’t have anyone to vouch that it was good, but I’m sure that tomorrow when I warm up the leftovers for lunch at the office, one of my nosey co-workers will comment on how it looks and smells good.
That will be all the validation I need.