Monday, July 21, 2008

Perfect Pronto Pesto


The garden bounty is starting to roll in. Our basil is thriving in our square foot garden, so much so that my youngest gardener harvested 6 cups of basil leaves yesterday, and today the plants look like another harvesting from the same plants will be needed in the near future.

I love basil. How about you? I adore the way it smells, the way it tastes, the texture of the leaves, and how it adds such great depth of flavor to sandwiches, soups, pasta, pizza, salad, meats, veggies, dips and sauces. Did I miss anything? In the summer, one of my most favorite sandwiches is slices of mozzerella, tomato, and basil leaves on a hearty slice of bread. Drizzle a tad of olive oil, a splash of vinegar, salt, and pepper, and then top with another slice of bread. Yum, yum, yum!

With six cups of basil on hand, the recipe that sang out to me was "pesto". My homemade pesto is very subtly flavored, gluten free, and can be used on sandwiches, soups, pasta, pizza, salad, meats, veggies, dips, and sauces. I only use toasted pine nuts, not plain pine nuts, nor do I use walnuts or almonds or whatever nut is in vogue at the time. And for goodness sake, take the extra 3 minutes it takes to toast the pine nuts first. It makes such a difference in flavor. I don't enjoy eating pesto's that are chunky, nor do I want to bite into a huge chunk of raw garlic. Using the food processor produces a smooth pesto and makes assembly a snap. It takes more time to read the recipe and assemble the ingredients than it takes to make the pesto. This is the best pesto you'll ever eat. You'll never want that stuff from the grocery store shelves again. I promise. Start your timer.

4 cups loosely packed fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil (I used a little less; feel free to use more)
1/4 cup pine nuts TOASTED
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons Pecorino Romano
Several hearty grinds of sea salt to taste (optional)

Put the basil, oil, toasted pine nuts, and garlic into your food processor bowl. Pulse about 6 times. Add the cheeses, and process again until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with sea salt if necessary. I tend to like my pesto a little thicker so that when I use it in recipes, it won't create too much oil in the dish. You can easily make yours thinner by adding more olive oil.

Yuuuuum!!! Try to restrain yourself from eating it by the spoonful. Hmm, perhaps I should taste it again, just to make sure it's seasoned perfectly. Just one more bite .... or two.

15 comments:

Bridgett said...

Ah, your basil and pesto are perfectly gorgeous! I just planted some basil, so hopefully I wont kill it like always. Beautiful photos as well!

Marjie said...

Pretty star dish! I can just see me putting green paste on my family table (insert eyeroll here). Some things we only dream about...

Erika said...

I need to harvest some of my basil too and I love your idea of pesto. My recipe is similar to yours, very straightforward classic pesto. Have you ever tried freezing your pesto? I have read that people freeze it in ice cube trays...

Katherine Aucoin said...

I wish when my husband bought me herbs for my herb garden he would have remembered to get basil. I love putting basil in so many different sauces. Your basil looks so perfect and your pesto sauce has me drooling. Check out my blog, I tagged you.

Cheryl said...

You have officially saved me! I have a bunch of Basil too and have never made Pesto, but I am going to try it this weekend!

Bruno said...

That pesto is beautiful! I smushed together some (toasted) pine nuts and basil and salt and olive oil last week. I used the back of a spoon instead of a food processor so it was super chunky, which I like... but yours is MUCH prettier!

Sharon said...

Thanks for visiting! Love your blog and especially the pretty photos of basil. Pesto is delicious in so many different things. My favorite of course, is on toasted bread.

Lulu Barbarian said...

I thought I was the only person who ate pesto by the spoonful!

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

wonderful pesto served in an amazing red dish - i'm making pesto tomorow, but i'll be substituting the basil with other wild greens from the garden - a lot grows uninvited on our patch here!

Jeena said...

Beautiful pesto recipe it looks so delightful. I love how healthy it is too. :-)

Pam said...

I love pesto! Just look at that gorgeous color!

Pam said...

I love pesto! The photos are great and the pesto looks delicious.

Deborah said...

I just whipped up some pesto from my basil plant that is growing like nobody's business. Yum!

Kevin said...

The pesto looks nice and vibrant green and good!

Bellini Valli said...

With all the pesto out there this is still my favourite:D