I decided to make pesto, using a very standard recipe. Pesto is a paste made from basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Some recipes call for Romano, which has a stronger flavor, but I think the decision is purely subjective.
First, I used two packed cups of basil leaves, which filled my entire blender. I don't recommend using a blender actually because there isn't enough liquid to get it to blend well. I used a spice mill, but I would recommend a food processor or something similar.
I added 1/3 cup pine nuts and pulsed my spice mill, then 3 cloves of garlic and pulsed some more. Then, I slowly drizzled about 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil while blending.
Lastly, I added 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese and pulsed my spice mill until well-blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
What a gorgeous color. The aroma made me want to make pasta that instant, which I did. The pasta needed nothing more than to be tossed with the sauce. I was so delighted with the dish that I didn't bother adding a protein, like chicken. Pesto is a great use for your basil, if you have an abundance of it. The homemade version beats the store-bought version any day. Try it at sometime!
Recipe: Fresh Homemade Pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
- 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Makes 1 cup.