Friday, January 28, 2011

Basil Pesto

Classic Basil Pesto

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

2 cups gently packed fresh sweet basil leaves

½ cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons raw pine nuts, toasted

½ cup grated parmesan cheese

In a food processor, pulse the first four ingredients in spurts, just until there are no whole leaves.With the machine running, pour the olive oil through the feed tube in a steady stream. Stop and scrape down sides, then pulse again (not too much because you want the texture from the leaves still). Add pine nuts and pulse again (just enough to chop them a bit), then add cheese. You can add more olive oil for desired consistency, but if freezing I usually just enough olive oil to hold it together in a chunky paste. At this point, I portion it into plastic bags to freeze. You could also portion it by freezing it in ice cube trays and then after frozen, pop them into a freezer bag.

I froze a bunch in one container to keep them a bit more uniform.
This post is to get you thinking ahead about your spring garden plans! January is always so depressing so it was fun for me to be able to pull out and enjoy a bit of summer for dinner.
So what do you do with pesto, you ask? Don't be intimidated. It sounds fancy restaurant-y, but it's a really easy way to spice up any Italian dish you make. I use it for my throw together pasta dishes (see below), but you can also use it with chicken dishes, spread it on a homemade pizza instead of marinara sauce, use it instead of mayo on a sandwich, or put it on some toasted bread with chopped up tomatoes and parmesan... mmm!

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