This recipe is from Carolynn Carreño’s book, Bowls of Plenty:
Chino Ranch is a farm in my hometown, San Diego, made famous in the early 1970s when Alice Waters fell in love with their green beans because, unlike grocery store green beans, they actually had tasted like green beans. Extraordinary as those beans are, the Chinos are most famous for their corn, which, were you to try it, will ruin you to any other corn for life. I am lucky enough to call the Chinos friends, and to have easy access to their delicious vegetables. Naturally, I serve many a bowl in honor of them and their ever-changing, unparalleled produce.
Pesto is so easy to make I can’t understand why anyone would buy it. You just throw a bunch of stuff in a blender or food processor and go. Try it, you’ll see. I make this with kale but use any combination of basil, parsley, kale, or arugula; as long as you start with 2 cups of leaves, you’ll have pesto.
Gluten-free alternative: To make this gluten-free, substitute cooked sorghum, quinoa, or wild rice (or a combo) for the farro in the recipe.
- Yields: Serves 4 to 6
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 40 min
- Active: 40 min
For the vegetable bowls:
- 2 red or yellow bell peppers (or 1 pound mini sweet peppers)
- 2 ears corn, shucked ½ pound Romano beans, green beans, or yellow beans, stem ends trimmed
- 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off
- 1 pint small cherry tomatoes, such as Sweet 100s, Sungolds, or another sweet summertime variety
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup farro, cooked (about 3 cups cooked farro) and cooled to room temperature
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced, or burrata, broken into segments with a spoon
- ½ cup fresh basil
For the Kale Pistachio Pesto:
- 1½ cups packed torn kale leaves
- ½ cup packed fresh parsley or basil leaves
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons pistachios (or pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts), toasted
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
For the Bagna Cauda:
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 (1½- to 2-ounce) can or jar of anchovies (8 to 11 anchovy fillets), anchovies removed from the oil and minced
- 6 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or minced
- A pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
To make the vegetable bowl:
- Preheat an outdoor grill to high or a stovetop grill pan over high heat. Brush the vegetables with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper.
- Put the vegetables on the grill and grill until they are black in places, turning to grill all sides, and removing each vegetable from the grill to a plate as it is done. (For bright green asparagus and green beans like those pictured rather than grilling them, blanch them for 1 minute in boiling, salted water and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.)
- Cut the corn kernels off the cob. Remove and discard the cores and seeds from the bell peppers (if you used baby peppers, leave them as is) and slice the peppers into thin strips.
- Serve family style, with big platters of the summer veggies, the sauces in small bowls, and the grains for people to make their own bowls.
To make the Kale Pistachio Pesto:
- Put all the ingredients except the lemon juice in a blender or food processor and blend until the pesto is smooth with some flecks, stopping to scrape down the side of the blender once or twice. The pesto should be loose and spoonable, not globby; if it’s too thick, add more oil and blend it in.
- Stir in the lemon juice just before using. Use the pesto or refrigerate in a covered container for up to 2 days; be warned: the pesto will lose its pretty color with time but it will still taste great. Bring it to room temperature before using.
To make the Bagna Cauda:
- Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the garlic is fragrant and the butter and oil just start to sizzle.
- Reduce the heat to very low and cook for 10 minutes so the flavors can all make friends. Serve warm.