Summer, for me, is about simplicity, and a less is more mentality. Less planning. Less on-the-go days. Less makeup. Less time slaving away in the kitchen.
I pride myself on making the effort to have a home-cooked dinner on the table most days of the week, but in the summer, it’s not uncommon for the nights of take-out and frozen pizza to outweigh the nights I cook — and I’m not the least bit ashamed about it. This time of year, I want to spend all of my spare time enjoying the warmth, so even when I do cook, it must be relatively quick, and it must be easy.
Tonight, dinner was blackened mahi mahi, wild rice from (gasp!) a box, and these brown butter green beans — all of which took me less time to throw together than Teddy downed his nightly bottle.
Our basil has been growing like a weed this year, but I’m so stingy with its leaves that I hadn’t made anything from it yet. With a ten-day long trip in our near future, I knew the plant would have time to regenerate by the time we get back, so I made it my mission to make a pesto of some sort before we take off.
While I adore a classic basil pesto, I wanted to make this one just a little bit different, so instead of using a standard olive oil as the fat and emulsifier of the recipe, I swapped it out for some nutty brown butter. The swap out isn’t an in-your-face change, but one that gives the pesto a slight richer mouthfeel and taste that I adore.
Instead of of pine nuts, I used hazelnuts because it’s what I had on hand. Of course a heavy handy of parmesan and little bit of garlic are two must have ingredients in any pesto, but a touch of lemon juice adds a bit of an acidic touch in the end that’s not in many recipes.
Once the pesto comes together its tossed with a few pounds of sautéed green beans, but really this would go with anything – slathered on roasted summer carrots, tossed with aldente spaghetti, or even spread over crispy grilled bread.
Whatever you decide to do with it, this is a must to have on hand for easy summer meals.
- 3 Tlbs unsalted butter
- 3 cups packed basil leaves
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 Tlbs roughly chopped hazelnuts
- 1 small garlic clove
- 3 tsp. lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- 2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed
- ½ tsp. coconut (or olive) oil
- Add butter to a medium sauté pan. Turn the heat on medium-high. Once the butter melts, and begins to brown, swirl pan. Keep swirling pan until butter is a deep brown and smells nutty. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
- In the bottom of a food processor, add basil, cheese, nuts, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Pulse a few times, then scrape down the sides. Pulse again until the mixture is pureed. With the mixer on, slowly add in cooled brown butter. Again, if needed, scrape down the sides and process again. If needed, add one or two teaspoons of water to loosen the pesto up. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add coconut oil to the same pan you cooked the green beans in. Turn the heat on medium. Once oil is hot, add green beans. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until bright green and slightly softened, but still crisp. Add pesto, toss.
- Season with salt and pepper.