We got snow this weekend! Inches of it. The good kind too – big, fat flakes that crunch beneath booted feet. The perfect kind of snow to make snowmen and snowballs. The kind that cloaks the ground in a thick and fluffy blanket and settles a hush around everything, even a bustling downtown.
It came from the kind of storm they predicted all week. The kind that makes the sky an icy, steely gray and leaves a smell lingering in the air. The smell of snow. Do you know the smell I’m talking about? I hope you do.
That smell transports me back home. I get a whiff of snow on the air and whoosh I’m back in Wisconsin, with a cold nose and gloved fingers. There are a handful of smells that do that to me. That take me back to a different time or a different place.
Pesto is one of those smells. The strong scent of basil tinged with garlic and Parmesan. It reminds me of the restaurant I worked at all through high school and college. In the mornings, they’d prep big batches of it, the food processor whirring and smell the fresh, sweet herb all around. In the evenings, I’d pilfer small containers of it from the walk-in. Stealing it away to put it on anything and everything - pasta, toast, scrambled eggs.
I wish I had figured out sooner to put it on chicken. Slathering it on before roasting is one of the easiest preparations with a big flavor payoff. When I make it now, and the scent of pesto lingers in my kitchen, I feel more at home, more connected to the place I came from, grateful for my time spent at that restaurant, in that kitchen.
I felt the same way this weekend, seeing snow piled up on the curbs and icicles hanging from branches. It felt the way January is supposed to feel, cold and crisp; like a real winter.
And real winter weather calls for a real winter meal. Something warm and hearty, something to connect me to home. Something like these pesto roasted chicken legs.
Pesto Roasted Chicken Legs
5 pounds chicken legs (I buy the family pack at the grocery store, dark meat forever)
½ cup pesto sauce (jarred or fresh)
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line a 9x13 pan with foil and place chicken legs inside, seasoning with salt and pepper. Whisk together pesto and olive oil before brushing it on chicken using a silicone pastry brush.
Back in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until juices run clear.
Serve and enjoy!