The First Time

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, my son made dinner for the first time. Okay, so I helped, but it was still pretty impressive. He thought so, too, and ate two huge, adult sized helpings of “Pusso-Passa” (Pesto Pasta).

While we do go out to eat occasionally, and our favorite Indian takeout is on speed dial (They include a free Mango Lassie for J everytime!), we make about 90% of our meals at home, and 90% of the food is from scratch. J does have a Clif bar and Cheerios addiction, but those are really our only packaged food purchases, besides condiments.

So J’s been in the kitchen since he was born, just like I was. My mother was always so relaxed and happy and confident in the kitchen, and she did MAGIC-- homemade mayonnaise and bread and fudge where my friends had labels and cans. I was so proud of her. The first thing I can remember cooking mostly by myself was scones, when I was about 7. I think the recipe came from Cobblestone... they tasted great but I think she must have baked a second batch when I wasn’t looking.

I learned how to make pesto from my Momma, who made it every summer when we visited her momma. She’d pick the basil from Gran Jo’s garden (I think it must have been grown just for Momma, often it was leggy and about to flower by the time she picked it), throw in a few sprigs of mint, and grind up cheese she’d bring with us from Italy. And every kid on the block would ask to stay for dinner, garlic and all.

J has been play cooking and asking to help for a few months, but it’s made me nervous, and uncertain. Or house is small, or kitchen smaller, I hate kitchen clean up... but he loves pesto pasta, and this I thought could be done fairly simply with a small child.

So Monday we brought his stool into the kitchen, I grated the cheese and leafed the basil, and one by one we added the ingredients to the food processor. J asked “cheese turn?” “salt turn?” for each ingredient we had lined up. We made it all in the food processor, just adding the ingredients on at a time, in order. He processed it for longer than I usually do, which actually was a good call. And I made penne instead of the usual linguine-- much easier for him to handle. No mess, and we only used one pan, plus the food processor.

Pesto Pasta
2 c packed basil leaves(try to use the smaller leaves on the plant, if yo are growing your own)
a few “other” leaves- i.e. 2-5 leaves of mint, cilantro, or parsely. This will give the flavors a little more depth.
2 tsp salt
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 c walnuts
2 tbs pine nuts
2/3 c olive oil
1/3 c parmesan
1/3 c pecorino
2 tbs butter

In a blender of food processor, combine the salt and leaves. Next add the garlic (no need to chop prior to adding), then the nuts. Lastly, mix in the oil. Stop the recipe here for freezing. Mix the cheeses together; add 1/2 c of the cheese and the butter if serving immediately.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What a great idea! My daughter -- 2 y/o -- usually just gets a whisk and a plastic bowl!