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Diane Prather: A recipe that goes with ‘anything Italian’

Diane Prather

Pesto-Goat-Cheese Straws (makes 18 cheese straws)

1 (4-ounce) package goat cheese

1 cup fresh arugula, torn into small pieces

¼ cup grated Parmesan

¼ cup chopped toasted pine nuts

1 tablespoon prepared basil pesto

½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (17.3-ounce) box puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the goat cheese, arugula, Parmesan, pine nuts, pesto, lemon zest, salt, and pepper and pulse until well combined. On a clean, flat surface, lay out 1 sheet of the puff pastry. Carefully spread the cheese mixture over the entire surface. Top with the second puff pastry and gently press together. Using a pizza cutter, cut the sandwiched puff pastry into 18 (1/2-inch wide) strips. Gently twist each strip and place them on the baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

Pesto-Goat-Cheese Straws (makes 18 cheese straws)

1 (4-ounce) package goat cheese

1 cup fresh arugula, torn into small pieces

¼ cup grated Parmesan

¼ cup chopped toasted pine nuts

1 tablespoon prepared basil pesto

½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (17.3-ounce) box puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment and set aside. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the goat cheese, arugula, Parmesan, pine nuts, pesto, lemon zest, salt, and pepper and pulse until well combined. On a clean, flat surface, lay out 1 sheet of the puff pastry. Carefully spread the cheese mixture over the entire surface. Top with the second puff pastry and gently press together. Using a pizza cutter, cut the sandwiched puff pastry into 18 (1/2-inch wide) strips. Gently twist each strip and place them on the baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

This week’s recipe is courtesy of Craig resident Victoria Larkin.

Some time back, she contributed a soup recipe to this column. I even visited her home where the soup bubbled away. It’s always fun to see what Victoria is up to. (When I talked to her a couple of weeks ago, Victoria was germinating garden seeds in her greenhouse and getting ready to raise some baby ducks.)

This week’s recipe is for “Pesto-Goat-Cheese Straws,” Victoria’s favorite way to use pesto.

My first question for Victoria was about “pesto.”

I found out that it’s an Italian sauce made with basil, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, fresh pepper, and pine nuts (or walnuts or almonds).

Victoria makes up a lot of pesto in the fall and freezes it. She uses fresh herbs from her garden, like long leaf parsley (which she also freezes).

Sometimes, Victoria even adds a little mint.

“Chicken Pesto Pizza” is just one of the recipes that Victoria makes from her frozen pesto. This week’s recipe is another.

Pesto recipes can be found in Italian cookbooks, but Victoria says you can call her if you have any questions. You might also find pesto at the grocery store; Victoria thinks it might be in the produce section.

All of the recipe’s ingredients can be found at local grocery stores. Look for goat cheese in the deli aisle, arugula in the produce section with organic produce, and puff pastry with frozen foods. If you cannot find pine nuts, substitute walnuts or almonds.

So, you need the following to make “Pesto-Goat-Cheese straws”: 1 (4-ounce) package goat cheese, 1 cup fresh arugula (torn into small pieces), ¼ cup grated Parmesan, ¼ cup chopped toasted pine nuts, 1 tablespoon prepared basil pesto, ½ teaspoon fresh lemon zest, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1 (17.3-ounce) box puff pastry, thawed.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the goat cheese, arugula, Parmesan, pine nuts, pesto, lemon zest, salt, and pepper and pulse until well combined.

On a clean, flat surface, lay out one sheet of the puff pastry. Carefully spread the cheese mixture evenly over the entire surface.

Top with the second puff pastry sheet, and gently press together.

Using a pizza cutter, cut the sandwiched puff pastry into 18 (1/2-inch wide) strips. Gently twist each strip and place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

Victoria says these “straws” are great as appetizers; in fact, they’re good with anything Italian. Thanks, Victoria.

Today, I noticed that our rhubarb is growing. Hunt up your favorite rhubarb recipes.

If you have a recipe to share, call me at 824-8809 or write to me at Box 415, Craig 81626.


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