Most of the time, I'm okay with the basil-free life I've chosen. It's taken years, but I no longer eye the jar longingly when I'm making a sauce. I can revel in a juicy summer heirloom tomato without its fresh flavor topping off the silky mozzarella. Most of the time, I can. But sometimes, I just need to indulge in my pesto fix. In Boston, this meant ordering a heavenly pesto pizza from Upper Crust. Especially the kind with Artichokes on it. So good. In Philly, it meant picking up a small container of Artichoke Salsa from Metropolitan Bakery. Out here in the burbs I have yet to identify a basil dealer. Instead, I've adapted the Artichoke Salsa recipe to remove the basil. Because if I can't have the real deal, I might as well pretend.
ARTICHOKE AND OLIVE PESTO
(adapted from The Metropolitan Bakery Cookbook)
Although I served it with tortellini, it's really much better as a spread for a cracker or pita chip. Yum.
6 oz artichokes (I used frozen ones that I defrosted in the microwave)
1/4 C collasquillo olives
1/4 C kalamata olives (so basically, 1/2 C of olives of your choosing, have fun at the olive bar!)
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C grated parmiggiano reggiano cheese
juice from 1/2 lemon
black pepper to taste
salt??? - with the olives I chose, there was no need for salt whatsoever, you may feel differently
Toss everything in a blender or food processor and give it a few whirs until blended nicely!