One-Pot Pesto


Ten years ago I was a much younger man. I could hike further, climb faster, and ride longer. I could do it all on energy supplied by a PB&J and a Cliff Bar. Now that my pace has slowed, I've become more interested in making sure there's a nice meal in my backpack for the end of the day. That thought keeps me going on the trail.

When I gave in and bought a camp stove, I started to think about what kind of "nice" meal I could carry for a few days without refrigeration and without breaking my back. My unfortunate experience with the commercial dehydrated meals has been that their taste is marginal at best, but even worse, when not properly hydrated (which was often the case), their consumption provides quite the rumble in the tummy. Let's just say I produced enough methane to make a tentmate absolutely out of the question.

Now, I can spend hours or even days preparing a meal at home, but we're obviously going to have to cheat a bit when we have only one pot and are miles from anywhere. So here's a recipe that will have you full in no time.

2 packets ramen noodles
1 packet Knorr dried pesto sauce mix
1 restaurant packet of mayonnaise
1 piece string cheese
Pine nuts
1 pouch cooked chunk chicken (optional)

Drop ramen into boiling water. When done, drain and return noodles to pot. Add pesto seasoning and mayonnaise. Mayo isn't much more than oil, and here it adds creaminess as well as much-needed calories. Add string cheese, pine nuts, and chicken. You now have in front of you a pretty darn tasty backcountry meal, though any smart bear is coming straight to your camp instead of the one with the people eating cold pop-tarts, so be careful!

Don MacArthur is the chef at the Emerson Grill in downtown Bozeman.