13 December 2012

Buffalo Pesto

My all-time favorite way to eat chicken is grilled with Frank's RedHot sauce and fresh basil.  I've been eating it this way for so long, I don't even remember where I came up with the idea to pair these two disparate items.  But for some reason, they are insanely good together.  Everyone I've ever fed this combo to has been delightfully happy with the flavor.  And justly so, because what's not to love?  Zesty RedHot, fresh basil and tender chicken breast...all wonderful.  So good, I wanted to put it on everything I ate.  So I figured out a more spreadable solution by transforming the duo into a pesto.  Mayo and mustard never knew what hit them.   

Frank's RedHot is a glorious condiment.  If you've ever loved a buffalo wing, you know what I'm talking about.  Vinegary, spicy and full of pep, it adds wonderful heat to everything from nachos to alfredo.  Its flavor is unique, but not so overpowering that it takes over a dish.  Mixed with barbecue sauce, it adds just a bit of extra heat and pep.  The more you add, the peppier your dish.  For a milder flavor, just add a little less.  The heat is literally in your hands with this sauce.

See?  Even the spatula is happy to have some.

This recipe is incredibly easy to make. If you have a food processor and 5 minutes, you're good to go.  But on top of being easy and delicious, this pesto is also about 50 times healthier than most store-bought varieties.  Why?  Because the base recipe is from the Biggest Loser Jump Start cookbook.  It uses half oil, half water to thin the mixture rather than all oil which I love.  The result is a less heavy, fresher-tasting pesto.  All you do here is substitute Frank's for the water and boom, Buffalo Pesto.  Genius!  

This stuff is great on anything.  As an ode to my old favorite, try it on grilled chicken breast.  It is fabulous as either a marinade or just spread on top after cooking.  

Another favorite is the Buffalo Pesto pizza.  Oh man, this baby is delicious.  It's the the love-child of Buffalo Chicken and Pesto pizzas.  Here's the quick version on game night (Skip-Bo!)

Other house favorites are spreading on paninis or cold-cut sandwiches and drizzling over poached eggs and omelets.  It takes a plain serving of scrambled eggs from bland to bling.  So give it a whirl, and please share your serving recommendations!  I'm looking for new options every day.....

Buffalo Chicken Pesto 
  • 1/4 c pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2 c packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs Frank's RedHot sauce
Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Blend until smooth, pushing down any chunks on the sides as necessary.  If the pesto is too dry, add additional Frank's or oil a teaspoon at a time until it comes together.  Stores in a small, air-tight container for 3-4 days, stirring immediately before you serve.  

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