Lean, Green Pesto

It occured to us today that we have some serious pesto action on Food Republic, and should definitely be what's for lunch. A big plate of pasta smothered in bright green pesto can't really be improved upon. Summer's tasty and convenient abundance of fresh basil really does merit learning how to stuff leaves in a blender, add some good olive oil and few other super-basic ingredients and hitting the "blend" button. Or if you want to get fancy like Michael Chiarello, you can blanch the leaves first. The result makes killer arancini, Italian cheese-stuffed rice balls. Roast poultry authority Mindy Fox tosses it with pasta and leftover chicken for a hearty 20-minute meal. Wrapping anything you have in bacon and smearing it with pesto is a guaranteed recipe for success, and blended with a little mayo (which, like all truly great condiments, should be made at home), pesto can easily be transformed into your new favorite sandwich spread.

So there you have it, whatever you were going to have for lunch (short of the candy bar in your desk drawer) can and should be improved with the addition of this friendly, green summer flavor-enhancer.