If I could go back three years and undo one of my many newbie gardening mistakes, it would undoubtedly be planting herbs in our raised beds. Specifically, rosemary, sage, thyme, mint and oregano. I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking, but as anyone with half a brain cell could have predicted, they’ve all become mutant bushes of death that have taken over and choked out anything within a 5-foot radius. Thankfully, most the herbs are (almost) making up for the inconvenience with their usefulness. Not so much the oregano, however. Sure, I use it here and there, but it’s not sturdy like rosemary, sage and thyme, or supremely versatile like mint. I don’t know why it took me so long to try it in a pesto, but I think it may have found its new calling. Not only does it use up a lot of the leaves, but this pesto tastes incredible; full of fresh-oregano flavor without being overpowering. Try it on pasta.
Just a heads up this is best if you have an oregano plant or access to one, as I don’t know where else you’d find two cups’ worth of fresh oregano leaves. As below it makes about 4 servings. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s very filling.
• 2 cups loosely packed oregano leaves (garden): $0
• 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted: $2
• 1/2 cup olive oil: 44 cents
• 3-4 cloves peeled garlic: 5 cents
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving with pasta: $1
• Salt & pepper to taste: 2 cents
• A few splashes of lemon juice: 10 cents
• 12 oz. pasta of your choice: $1
TOTAL: $4.61/4 = $1.15/serving
Combine the oregano, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan, a pinch each of salt and pepper, and a few splashes of lemon juice in a food processor or blender.
Process until blended. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot. Stir in the pesto. Serve with more cheese, if desired.