02 August, 2010

Presto PESTO!!

About this time every summer my basil plants are producing more leaves than I usually know what to do with. I just love basil.  Look for more recipes here using my favorite herb!!  Sooo...it's time to make another batch of pesto. Leave out the cheese if you're going to freeze it. These specifics are given in my recipe below.  There are sooo many uses for pesto.  I love to make some pasta and stir in a spoonful of pesto with a little pasta water makes it combine easily.  This a a super quick lunch, dinner, or side dish.
My kids aren't crazy about pesto this way but I use it in all sort of other ways they do appreciate; over fish or chicken, as a marinade, on sliced french bread with tomatoes and cheese as an appetizer, on corn on the cob instead of butter,  mix it with mayonnaise for a delicious dip or spread, with eggs, etc... etc..... etc.... the possibilities are endless.
**If you want to freeze the pesto you make, omit the cheese (it doesn't freeze well). Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap, and fill each pocket with the pesto. Freeze and then remove from the ice tray and store in a freezer bag. When you want to use, defrost and add in grated Parmesan or Roma.
Easy Pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts, toasted
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Makes about 1 cup.

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