Artichoke Tomato Pesto

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12.21.09 by sarah

This weekend, I experienced Washington’s first “blizzard.” The office reeked of anticipation for what you would expect to be a wind-chilling, biting, frozen-cold type of storm. When I think blizzard, I think of Christmas movie blizzards, where the storm is so bad that Santa can’t cut through it with his magical sleigh. Right?
Wrong. In Washington, this blizzard was just a full day of pleasant snowfall. I kid you not–there was absolutely no wind, and it wasn’t so cold that my eyelashes felt like they were freezing off. It was actually, really nice. Oh, except for the fact that the roads were barely even salted at 4 PM when I trekked out in the snow because we were out of wine.
How were all the liquor stores open until 10, but the grocery stores were all closed by 2 PM on account of the blizzard? I don’t know. DC in the snow reminded me of Los Angeles in the rain. Everything had completely shut down… it was pathetic.
My best friend scheduled a stopover in Washington on her way to Miami and Bolivia. I had stocked up the kitchen in anticipation of cooking with her, but only regarding the baking realm. So we had to scrap up the remainders of my kitchen, two weeks removed from the grocery store, in order to make a blizzard lunch. This is what we came up with.

WHAT YOU NEED:
2 cups basil leaves
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup artichoke hearts
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
oregano, salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup tomato sauce
As much broccoli as your heart desires (we used about 3/4 lb.)
~1 lb. fusilli
handful of feta cheese and pine nuts to garnish
WHAT TO DO:
First, chop the basil, garlic, and pine nuts together in a food processor. Then, add the artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. With the processor on, add the olive oil slowly through the hole in the top. Transfer to a sauce pan and heat on low, adding olive oil as necessary.
Begin boiling water in order to cook the pasta. Since we were snowed in, we had to use frozen broccoli, which we heated in a saucepan to defrost, using a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and ground peppercorns. When the broccoli was finished cooking, we added it to the pesto sauce, along with the tomato sauce. Let that simmer on very low heat for 5-10 minutes. I added a bit of oregano, salt, and pepper until the sauce had the flavor I was going for.
Finally, add in the cream, stir evenly, and then mix in the cooked pasta. Garnish each dish with a sprinkle of feta cheese, pine nuts, and oregano for aesthetic presentation.

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