There are nights when I love nothing more than to prepare a meal that takes a variety of ingredients and a few hours to prepare. I do, after all, love the process of cooking. It’s possibly one of my greatest pleasures. But, like the rest of human kind, there are nights when all I want is something to eat that takes little effort. I want the actions to be swift, the ingredient list to be manageable and if something is going to take a bit of time, I’d prefer that time to not require constant babysitting, actions and/or work.
This dinner, or even side dish, is just that. While the cooking time clocks in at the hour-mark, it’s nearly all hands-off. This means that in the meantime, you can do all sorts of things; laundry, a bit of straightening up, dishes, emails or, if you’re like me, doing nothing at all sounds mighty fine.
There are nights when we all need a bit of a break and just sit with a potato and a bowl full of pesto. Some of you might not consider this dinner, feel free to call it a side dish, but this girl enjoys nothing more than sitting in front of the television with a bowl full of homemade food that took mere minutes to throw together.
Hasselback Potatoes with Spinach Pesto
- 2 russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- For the Spinach Pesto:
- 3 cups spinach leaves, cleaned and stems discarded
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 small handful of Italian parsley
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Using a sharp knife, make slices across the potato, spacing them about 1/4-inch apart, and being sure to cut down stopping just before you reach all the way through the potato. The potato should stay connected at its base. Repeat the slicing with the second potato.
- Transfer the potatoes to a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle each potato with about a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the oven. Optional: Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the potatoes' tops are golden brown. (Note: You may omit the cheese, but the potatoes will still need the additional baking time.)
- Meanwhile, let's make the pesto. To the jar of a blender, add the spinach leaves, basil leaves, Italian parsley and pecans, and pulse until finely chopped. With the blender running, slowly pour in the olive oil until completely combined. Salt to taste (I added about 1/2 teaspoon). Spoon over the hasselbeck potatoes and serve.
Yield: 1-2 servings
Adrianna Adarme is a food blogger and author living in Los Angeles, California. She writes the blog A Cozy Kitchen, where she shares comforting, everyday recipes from her kitchen. She recently authored her first cookbook, PANCAKES: 72 Sweet and Savory Recipes for the Perfect Stack. She’s a lover of breakfast, pie (and sometimes even pie for breakfast), corgis and cute things. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.