California Central Coast Recipes

Christmas Pesto

Like many families, we like to put up a Christmas tree. We like to do it a couple of evenings before Christmas while listening to music, or watching some of our favorite Christmas movies. OK, probably not the most efficient way to put up a tree, but it's a lot of fun and gets us into the Christmas Spirit. It always seemed to be a bother to make a complicated dinner while we were in the spirit and having fun. So for the occasion, this is a quick recipe I created I named Christmas Pesto.

It is a pesto, but is made up of more traditional Christmas seasonings, Rosemary, Thyme, and the brightness of fresh lemon and zest. We serve it mixed with a thin spaghetti which is covered beautifully by the pesto. Its aroma smells like a freshly-cut Christmas tree. Whatever time of year you have it, it can bring back the magic and thoughts of Christmas.

Please note that this sauce is another double-duty recipe. The pesto by itself, makes a delicious dip for bread, crackers or vegetables. If you have a choice of lemons, use a Meyer lemon for its sweetness. 2018, Christmas Pesto
Preparation time:
Cooking time: 15 minutes
re-calculate ingredients for:


1/2 cup Oil-cured Sun-dried tomatoes , finely chopped
1-1/4 Cup walnuts , shelled and halved
12 Kalamata olives , pitted and halved
1 Lg. clove Garlic , chopped
1 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary , finely chopped
1 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme , finely chopped
3 to 4 Tablespoons Tomato paste
1/2 teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper flakes
1 Lemon , zest grated
1 Tablespoons Lemon juice
3/4 Cup Extra-virgin Olive oil
Salt to taste
1 Pound Thin Spaghetti

Preparation Directions.

1 If you only can find sun-dried tomatoes that are not moist, you can refresh them and plump them up a bit by soaking in hot water for a few minutes. However, oil-cured sun-dried tomatoes are preferable.

2 In a food processor, add the walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, garlic, rosemary, thyme, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and olive oil. Pulse the food processor long enough to thoroughly chop and distribute the ingredients evenly.

3 If mixture is too much like a paste, add a little more olive oil and pulse.

4 Correct seasoning to personal tastes.

5 In the meantime, bring a stockpot full of hot water to boil, add the salt, stir, then add the spaghetti.

6 Cook as directed on package or until al dente. Drain and mix with pesto, tossing well to distribute the sauce evenly.

7 Serve family-style or on individual dinner plates with a sprig of rosemary for garnish.

Wine and Food Pairing and Serving Suggestions.

A cold white wine such as a Fume Blanc works well with this.

A tip from Sue!

An easier way to pound your meats and poultry

Been frustrated by plastic wrap that won't stay as you pound your meats? Save yourself some grief by using an extra plastic bag from your grocery store's meat or produce counter. Simply place the breast of meat inside flat between the top and bottom of the plastic bag, laying flat and pound away.