Thursday, August 13, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Fresh Pesto

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy. The name is the contracted past participle of pestâ ("to pound, to crush"), from the same Latin root as the English word pestle….as in mortar and pestle, in reference to the sauce's crushed herbs and garlic. Historically, pesto is prepared in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle – at Rebecca Lane we will use the old Cuisinart.

Since I planted two basil plants this year, I wanted to try my hand at fresh pesto along with a yummy pasta dish.



Garden Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

  • 1 large bunch fresh basil (about 4 cups loosely packed leaves, stems and branches removed)
  • 2-4 garlic cloves to taste
  • 2-4 Tablespoons really good olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)

How To Make Basil Pesto

  • Rinse the basil as many times as necessary to remove all sand. Pat it dry with paper towel or let it air dry.
  • Place the leaves in the bowl of a large food processor. (You may have to do this twice depending on the size of the FP.)
  • Pulse until the leaves have been chopped quite a bit.
  • Add garlic and pulse again.
  • With the FP running, add the olive oil one Tablespoon at a time through the opening. Turn the machine off and scrape down.
  • Add the Parmesan cheese and pine nuts and pulse again until you get the consistency you want. Some people like their pesto coarse, others like it pureed. You decide.
  • Remove to a container with a lid on it and cover lightly with a piece of plastic. As soon as the air hits the pesto, it starts to turn brown. It doesn't look very appetizing, but there's nothing wrong with it. You can stir it back in or scrape it off...but what a waste that would be!
  • Freeze tightly covered for many months or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Photo courtesy of Google Images