Tai’s Pepita Pesto – Cooking with Green Pumpkin Seeds, II


In an earlier post on green pumpkin seeds, I eluded to a pesto created by Tai Leavitt, of Val 21 restaurant in San Francisco.  Being the queen of schmootz, I offer this up as a great dipping sauce for roasted potatoes or grilled chicken.

At Val 21, we stuffed pepita pesto into chicken breasts.  We would pan fry the stuffed breast with a touch of heavy cream.  Between the cooking juices, pesto and cream, we had ourselves a lovely pan sauce that was always sopped up off the plate with bread.  I’ve never had it it on pasta, but think it’s a natural for a whole wheat penne.

Pepita Pesto

1 bunch of cilantro, roughly taken from the stem and cleaned.
1 bag of baby spinach (5 ounces)
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
2 cups grated aged Asaigo cheese
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup toated pepitas
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
heavy cream (optional for making a sauce or tossing with pasta)

Place the pepitas, spinach, cilantro and garlic into a food processor, reserving 2 Tbsp. of the pumpkin seeds to add later. With the processor running add the olive oil and the cheese through the feed tube. Remove from the bowl and fold in the remaining the pumpkins seeds. If desired, season with salt and pepper.

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