Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Homemade pesto

dinnertime...linguine, my homemade pesto and a sprinkle of cheese.

I absolutely love pesto. I love it on pasta (natch), bread, vegetables, fish, even just a plain spoonful. I've been wanting to make it from scratch for a while now since it seems like it should be super easy to make and would take advantage of having lots of fresh basil available in the summer. Plus, I figured it would be even more delicious freshly made. Here is the general recipe I made up, but this is definitely the kind of recipe you can adjust to suit your tastes.

This recipe made a lot of pesto, so when it was done, I split it in half and poured some olive oil over the top so the basil didn't get discolored (pics 13, 14 below). I stored half in the freezer and left the other half in the fridge to eat over the course of a week or so. The frozen pesto should be good for at least 1-2 months...maybe longer but mine never lasts that long! If you don't want to freeze it in one big jar like I did, you can do it in an ice cube tray and then, when frozen, transfer the cubes to a zip bag. 

Homemade Basil Pesto
16 oz fresh basil leaves, about 4 packed cups (I used the 4 oz packs from Happy Valley brand) 
3/4 cup pine nuts
4-5 cloves garlic (I love garlic so used 5 cloves)
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (I used a combination of parmesan sarvecchio and parmigiano reggiano. Go for the quality stuff here...nothing out of a green canister!)
1/2 cup olive oil
~ 1/3 teaspoon each salt and pepper (to taste)

Pick over the basil and discard any brown or old leaves. Wash and dry the basil leaves (pic 7).

Put the grated parmesan cheese, pine nuts and garlic cloves into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles bread crumbs (pics 8, 9).

Add the basil leaves and pulse until combined (pics 10, 11). At this stage it will resemble a thick green paste.

With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil (you may need slightly less/more than 1/2 cup) until you get the consistency you want. Sprinkle in the salt and pepper and blend again for a few seconds. Voila, fresh homemade petso (pic 12)...how easy was that?!

Stir into pasta, vegetables or a baked potato and enjoy!

mise en place

I used two cheeses - the parmesan sarvecchio was a bit more mild tasting

while the parmigiano reggiano was sharper and "nuttier" tasting

I used my food processor to grate the cheese...took about 12 seconds!

into a separate bowl so I can add the cheese a little at a time, as needed

lots of garlic!

(pic 7) washing and drying the basil leaves

(pic 8) pine nuts, cheese, garlic go into the food processor

(pic 9) I pulsed them together until they resembled bread crumbs

(pic 10) add the basil leaves. I had to do in 2 bunches (add, blend, add the rest) since they were so bulky.

(pic 11) blend until the basil is incorporated

(pic 12) after adding the olive oil. The longer you mix it, the creamier it will get

(pic 13) I split the pesto into 2 jars - one to freeze and one to enjoy now

(pic 14) pour a little olive oil on the top to prevent discoloration

mouth wateringly delicious!

Bye for now...

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