My facebook friends might remember my late basil plant, Audrey II, whom I had to butcher in December because of my extended vacation. Well, rather than just freeze a whole mess of basil, which loses its vibrant color when frozen whole, I figured I might as well make a whole bunch of pesto, since the loss of color wouldn't really be such a big deal in that context. So I steeped the flavorful stems in olive oil, discarded the used stems, and grated something like 4 or 5oz of Parm-Reg. I put those things in the food processor with my 2ish tighly packed cups of basil leaves and about 1/2C of curly parsley. Now, we all know rule #1 of cooking (everything needs salt), but that department is covered in the cheese. This made about a pint of pesto, which lasts a good while in your freezer, although airtight containment is crucial, as it's mostly fat, and fat can pick up some unwanted flavors in the freezer. Granted, if you keep your freezer clean (which you do, right?), this shouldn't be much of an issue either way.

Papaya juice makes a great partner for this dish.
Well, if there's a combination more intuitive than pesto, pasta, chicken, and broccoli, I don't know what it is. So that's what I cooked. Uninspired, yes, but delicious and affordable. I simply partially steamed 4 small heads' worth of broccoli florets,, then sweated 3 minced cloves of garlic until it was tender in olive oil, added the chicken, cooked that through, and then added one bag of mostly-cooked pasta, your prepared broccoli, and about a cup of the aforementioned pesto, which is paste-thick when refrigerated, but quickly thins out to a penne-coating consistency. Finish cooking everything. Easy, cheap, and damn tasty.



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