Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Basil Pesto

Oh how I love Pesto.  I wait all year until I have enough basil leaves in my garden to make this beautiful sauce.  I know I mentioned this recipe yesterday, but I felt it needed a page of its own. It is incredibly quick to make- no cooking involved! All you need is a food processor (or even a blender will work) and about 2 minutes of your time!  There are so many uses for Pesto. One of the most common is obviously tossing it on pasta for a flavorful sauce.  But remember, if you have never cooked with pesto before, a little goes a long way.  So be sure to add just a little at a time, until you get the flavor you want. You don't pour a ton on like you would a red sauce. This is a very pungent sauce, full of robust, fresh flavor.

There are other uses for pesto, you might not think of off hand.  One of my most favorite is to add a 1/2-1 teaspoon of pesto to your eggs when making scrambled eggs.  Serve it with nice thick slices of garden tomatoes and wow, is this the definition of a summer breakfast!!

Pesto also works great in place of red sauce on your favorite homemade pizza.

Drizzle a bit of pesto over your grilled steak for a lovely herb sauce, that melts right into the meat.

With all of those tomatoes at that are beginning to line up on your countertop, make my mom's Gourmet Tomato Soup, and drizzle a little on the top before serving.

Everyone loves breakfast for dinner.  Have you tried my Pesto and Potato Frittata?  It is elegant, and looks amazing on the table.  But yet so easy to prepare.  Your guests will have no idea that it took you no time to make this lovely dish.  Kids love it too!

At your next dinner party or for a nice light lunch, make up a few of these Pesto, Buffalo Mozzarella and Tomato Crostini. So yummy!

Lightly toss roasted or boiled potatoes in pesto for a vibrant side dish.

I honestly could go on and on.  But hopefully this will give you a good starting point for all the recipes that you can come up with on your own.  Use your imagination and goodness gracious, enjoy one of the simple joys of the season!

Basil Pesto
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts, tosasted
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Next add the cheese right into the food processor and just blended for a quick couple of seconds to incorporate. 

If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw and stir in cheese.

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