Get the most out of your new “fiesta garden” with these fun, fresh recipes.
Basil Pesto Pasta
1 lb. spaghetti, linguine, or rigati pasta
4-6 cups of basil leaves (no stems or flowers) (divided)
2-4 cloves of garlic to taste
1/4 tsp. of red pepper flakes (optional)
1/3 cup piÑon nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese + additional for serving
1/2 cup olive oil (divided)
Salt to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to taste. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain well.
Place half of the basil leaves into the bowl of a food processor. Add garlic cloves, red pepper flakes (if using), piñon nuts, and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Pour over 1/4 cup olive oil over the mixture and pulse 5-6 times or until the basil is chopped into small pieces and is becoming paste-like.
Add the other half of the basil leaves, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup olive oil (adjust to your choice of texture and taste). Pulse the mixture another 5-6 times or until it is almost a paste. I prefer my pesto with larger leaf bits and less oil, so adjust to your preference.
Add the pesto to the prepared pasta and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately with cracked black pepper and shredded parmesan cheese.
Hot Pepper Infused Vodka
1 750 ml bottle of vodka
4-6 hot peppers (jalapeno, serrano, or habanero)
2 quart jars
Coffee filters or cheesecloth
Wash peppers, then slice peppers in half. Be cautious with hot peppers. Wear gloves and wash your hands well to remove any pepper oil on your skin.
Place sliced hot peppers in the quart jars, dividing evenly between the jars. Pour half of the vodka in each jar. Save the bottle and cap. Place a canning or plastic lid on the quart jars.
Store the jars somewhere out of the sunlight. In 3-4 days, taste the hot pepper vodka for heat intensity. When it is spiced to your taste, strain the vodka through filters or cheesecloth into a jar. Discard the peppers.
Using the funnel lined with a filter or cheesecloth, pour the pepper vodka into the reserved vodka bottle. Cap the bottle and use for spicy cocktails.