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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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    A generous dollop of lemony pesto brightens this creamy white bean dip

    THE WASHINGTON POST – Reminiscent of hummus, here creamy white beans stand in for the traditional chickpeas, and the result is a smooth, luxurious-tasting and flavourful dip that works with a myriad flavours or on its own.

    Here, the dip is perked up with a lemony, garlicky pesto, which though untraditional is so good, it may change the way you view this well known Italian dish.

    A garnish of toasted pine nuts adds an additional, delightful texture for an irresistible start to a meal.

    WHITE BEAN DIP WITH LEMONY PESTO AND CRUDITES

    Total time: 15 minutes

    Six to eight servings

    INGREDIENTS

    FOR THE PESTO

    Four cups (scant one ounce) loosely packed fresh basil leaves

    Quarter cup (about one ounce) plus one tablespoon lightly toasted pine nuts, divided (see NOTE)

    Two fat garlic cloves, roughly chopped

    One teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

    Half cup extra-virgin olive oil

    Quarter cup fresh lemon juice (from about one-and-a-half medium juicy lemons), plus more to taste

    Quarter cup (scant one ounce) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    FOR THE DIP

    Two (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

    Half cup well-stirred tahini

    Quarter cup fresh lemon juice (from about one-and-a-half medium juicy lemons)

    Two cloves garlic, roughly chopped

    One teaspoon kosher salt

    Quarter cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

    Four to five fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (optional)

    Sliced bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots and/or pita chips, for serving

    DIRECTIONS

    Make the pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, quarter cup of pine nuts, the garlic and salt and pulse until the basil is finely chopped and the garlic and pine nuts are minced (about 15 pulses).

    Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice and pulse a few times more, until the mixture is chunky. Fold in the Parmesan cheese, taste and season with more salt and/or lemon juice, if desired. The pesto should be loose enough to be spooned over the dip.

    Transfer the pesto to a bowl and rinse out the food processor (you just want to get rid of the green bits so the bean dip stays white).

    Make the dip: In the same food processor, combine the beans, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and salt and process until smooth, about two minutes. Stop the motor and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula and process again for a few seconds. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil and process to incorporate, about 1 minute; the dip should be smooth and airy. Taste, and season with additional salt and/or lemon juice, if desired, keeping in mind that the pesto brings lots of flavor.

    To serve, divide the dip among individual eight-ounce ramekins or bowls. Top with spoonfuls of the pesto, a drizzle of olive oil, and garnish with the basil chiffonade, if using, and the remaining one tablespoon of pine nuts. Place the ramekins on individual plates with assorted vegetables and/or pita chips and serve.

    NOTE: To toast the pine nuts, in a small, dry pan over low heat, add the pine nuts and cook, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until golden and aromatic, about three minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a small bowl to prevent further cooking.

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