Sunday, July 31, 2011

Traditional Basil Pesto

Pesto is just another summer recipe. It's quite versatile. Pasta, pizza, bruschetta, as the base for a salad dressing or just on top of crunchy bread accompanying a green salad. 
Pesto is easily one of the simplest things that can be homemade. It pretty much can't be messed up. And it only has 6 ingredients (including the salt and pepper).
I love green foods. Green things are good for you. I like eating things that are good for me so that I can eat dessert for dinner frequently.
Oh, aaaand I like making things that I can then use in other things. Like barbecue sauce or pesto or liquor infused strawberries. Did you know that you can make Eton Mess or a dessert trifle with bourbon infused strawberries? 
Let me tell you about this pesto now, though. I bought three bundles of basil when we went to the farmer's market. Oh and I only got charged for one because I put them in a bag and the lady at the register thought I only had one bundle.
The basil smelled fantastic. It looked nice, too. Especially after I washed it.
Before getting the rest of the ingredients together you should wash your basil so that it will have some time to dry.

Lay the basil out on some paper towel or on a kitchen towel so it can dry while you get the rest of the ingredients.
Let the basil dry for a while and get the rest of the ingredients together. Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, garlic and pine nuts (toasted hazelnuts work well, too). Oh, and you'll need a grater if you have fresh Parmesan cheese that comes in one piece.
Grate about 1/3 of a cup of the Parmesan cheese.
Toast the nuts either in the oven or in a frying pan over low heat. 
Peel the garlic and then start the fun part. Pushing the blender button=fun part. Smush all the basil in the blender.

Drizzle some olive oil on the basil and start blending it. If you just have a blender (like me) and not an actual food processor, this will take some patience and pushing basil leaves down on the sides of the blender towards the blade. If anyone has connections to Santa, let him know that I could use a food processor. Thank you!!
Basil and olive oil mush. Pretty, right? So, what's left? Parmesan Reggiano, garlic and pine nuts. Oh and salt and pepper.  Add all that into the food processor or blender. Process some more and then get it out and clean up your mess. I usually try to save leftover glasses from Pasta sauces, jams, olives etc. for potential sauce making.  So if you happen to have an empty glass pour your pesto in that. Otherwise you can get glasses with tops at walmart, target or ikea.
And that's it, now make some pasta or smear it on some crusty baguette or ciabatta. Delicious.

Guten Appetit!

Basil Pesto
- about three cups of fresh packed basil
- 2/3 of a cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 a cup of toasted pine nuts
- 2/3 of a cup of grated parmesan reggiano
- 2 cloves of garlic
- salt & pepper

Combine 1 tablespoon of the oil and the basil by pulsing in a blender until the mix has the consistency of a paste.

Add the rest of the oil, the pine nuts, the parmesan cheese, and the garlic to the blender. Pulse until it reaches te desired consistency and season with salt and pepper.

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