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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Presto Pesto

Pesto is one of our favorite sauces for pasta (or chicken, or grilled zucchini, or anything really), mostly because it's so quick and easy to make.  Our corner grocery sells fresh basil for $1.50/bunch.  We bought 2 bunches and made enough pesto with this basil to be used in 6 servings.

Pesto is one of those things that you have to taste as you go.  The first time I made it, I went strictly from a recipe, and it was so salty I couldn't eat it.  The recipe I will give to you is a good starting point, but taste as you go.  Some people like it more salty, some like it with more cheese, some with lots of olive oil.  You just have to add little bits, taste, and see what it needs.  There's no exact science to it, especially since every package or bunch of basil will give you different quantities, so the quantities of everything else will change with the amount of basil you have.

Here goes!

Pesto

2 bunches of basil (probably 2 cups of leaves after you pinch the leaves off the stems)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil

Clean the basil by submerging them in a big bowl filled with water.  This will allow any dirt or sand to fall to the bottom.  If you just run it under water, you will end up with very gritty pesto!  Not fun (trust me).




Pinch off all the basil leaves from the stems, and put in a food processor with freshly grated parmesan cheese, walnuts, salt, and garlic.  



Pulse a few times until everything is mostly chopped, then turn the food processor "on".  If you have a spout at the top, slowly drizzle the olive oil from the top (add 1 tbsp at a time if you have to open the top to add things).  Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides as necessary, and add cheese, walnuts, salt, garlic, and/or olive oil as needed (by tasting), and continue processing until you reach your desired consistency and taste.



Serve with pasta, pork, chicken, roasted veggies, potatoes, or whatever your heart desires :D

Today we ate this with leftover roasted chicken thighs and fresh, halved cherry tomatoes (on sale $3 for 2 pints!! yayaya) topped with more freshly grated parmesan cheese.


Cheers.
J&H

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