Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Presto!!! Pesto!!!

I love me some basil!!! It's my favorite herb, and every spring I sit on pins and needles waiting for the weather to get warm enough to plant mine....and every fall I dread the night that will be it's death. Sooooo.....since cooler weather is coming, I decided this morning to cut them back and make more pesto (I think I had about a tablespoon left...not enough to do much of anything!).

I used to make my pesto in my Cuisinart food processor....the one I begged for 6 Christmases ago and that I rarely use unless it's a holiday! Anyway, I found that my pesto ended up looking like spinach baby food. So, I started using my old (very) Sunbeam mini-food processor and found that it left my final product much more chunky, which I love! When I take a bite, I can individually taste the basil, the garlic, the parmesan cheese (!!!) and the pine nuts.....ohmigosh!

So let's get started....
The ingredients are simple.......basil, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic and pine nuts!
Since I'm using a smaller processor, I'll have to do mine in batches, which does take longer, but the end result is so worth it. Add a little of each ingredient and just blend. After they're all mixed in together, I check the final mix to make sure I have enough parmesan, garlic and pine nuts....if not, I add it all back to the processor with the ingredient(s) I need and blend again (pulse this time to make sure it doesn't get to finely chopped). Then add salt and pepper to taste and...voila.....pesto! I prefer not to use the mixture until it's had a chance to meld flavors...an hour or two. So, what do I make using my lovely pesto? I love to mix a little with more olive oil and toss with romaine lettuce, grilled chicken and (more) grated parmesan! I love just a dollop on the top of freshly made tomato soup! Add a little to mayonnaise and toss with fresh tomatoes! I use it to marinate my chicken....it's delicious as a sandwich spread....great on burgers....mixed with mashed potatoes.....in scrambled eggs (with tomato..WOW!)...and on grilled shrimp! Are you making garlic bread? Spread a little pesto over the butter and garlic...awesome! Are you going to make a homemade pizza? Spread a little over the dough before you add your sauce.....dang! You can spread it, drizzle it, toss it, stuff it and mix it....so versatile! Oh wait.....the mostest, bestest is freshly cooked pasta tossed with pesto and freshly grated parmesan cheese!!! That's it....mine has sat long enough....gotta go!!!

Tip: You may remember this tip from a previous post: "Does the paper skin on a garlic head drive you nuts! When I buy a new head of garlic, I hold it under running water and gently peel away all of the skin. It makes it so much easier to pull off a clove when you need it! And if you're making a soup or stew where you're using the whole head, you don't have to worry about garlic paper floating around in your soup!"


veganmegan said...

I love my food processor. I use it almost everyday sometimes 2 or three times. It is my number one appliance!

You post made me think of this episode of the barefoot contessa. I think you would like all of these recipes: http://www.foodnetwork.com/barefoot-contessa/perfect-pasta/index.html

Cola said...

I adore Ina...she's one of my favorites! I've never thought of pouring a film of olive oil over the pesto for storage purposes...good idea! Mine never goes bad though...I crave it! I've also heard of others using walnuts, but I love pine nuts so much, I can't put half and half...all pine nuts! Love you...and I love that you guys are all such great cooks! I'm watching you!

veganmegan said...

What's funny is I hate pine nuts and have always used all walnuts!!!

sometimes I even go crazy and make cilantro or parsley pesto. yum! :)