Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pesto Bread

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I feel lazy today. Instead of making a huge production of dinner, I heat up some homemade marinara sauce, add some tomatoes, basil, leftover red bell pepper and onion. Mix with some bow tie pasta, top with parsley and pecorino cheese, and we've got dinner.

But the star of the dinner is the pesto bread. It's a twist on Mark Bittman's basic olive oil bread from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of pesto
Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a food processor. While the food processor is running, stream in olive oil, then warm water and pesto. Process until the dough comes together. Grease an 8 inch pan with olive oil. Press the dough into the pan until the dough fills up the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle with coarse salt or some Pecorino cheese. Bake for another 20-25 minutes.

When the bread just comes out of the oven, it is so soft, chewy and delicious. It does not have a strong pesto flavor, but has a nice aroma. I would increase the amount of pesto next time.

A side note on Bittman's book -- I use it frequently and find it helpful when brainstorming new ideas, but it has quite a few errors. For example, this particular olive oil bread recipe omits water from the ingredient list, but instructs cooks to add warm water in the steps. Pretty sloppy, if you ask me. I do like it because it suggests ways to change the recipe, whereas some other cookbooks give you one good recipe but no hints as to how to make variations.

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