Rocking the Pesto!

20 Oct

These days, not only do we need to stretch our food dollars, we need to get creative with what is in the pantry.  I have shared my award winning (in my own mind anyway!) recipe for pesto.  I always have the ingredients to make it on hand, and you can do anything with it!  And here is the best part…its inexpensive to make and keep around.  You can make a huge batch and freeze it too, making it even more versatile!!  This pesto can be used a million different ways, and its packed with flavor.

Pesto

1 c fresh basil leaves

1/4 c fresh italian flat leaf parsley

1 c olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 c Pine nuts (pinoli)

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1/4 c high quality parmesan cheese, shredded

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth.  Feel free to add more olive oil to taste or desired consistency.  I have used dry parsley and basil in a pinch. If you so that, scale the amount of basil and parsley down by half but keep everything else the same.  I have been known to be heavy handed with the fresh parmesan cheese.  Also, I have used walnuts instead of pine nuts.  They are flavorful and more affordable than the pine nuts, and I always have them in the pantry.  Adjust this to your taste and have fun!  Now how to use this sauce.  The options are endless!

Toss with pasta.  This makes a delicious colorful side dish.   -or-

Brush pesto on chicken.  Toss that chicken on the grill.  Cook to perfection.  It becomes a juicy and flavorful main entrée.  -or-

Mix pesto with some mayonnaise, and use as a condiment on sandwiches.  Slather it on some good french bread, layer good turkey and swiss cheese on that, and add some roasted red peppers and arugula.  It is an amazing gourmet sandwich, and so simple!

Now freeze the rest of the pesto.  If, when you pull it out of the freezer to use it seems too thick, just drizzle some high quality olive oil in, and enjoy.  The pesto is a beautiful vibrant green color with flecks of brown.  Gorgeous!   It looks so tasty and appetizing any way it is served.

If you want a hint to a fourth way to use this fabulous pesto…I can give you yet another one.  This one is newly discovered.  Just figured it out!

I made this pesto tonight.  A big batch to last a while.  Two of my children had some friends over (who always appear when I cook, much to my delight!) and as I finished the pesto they grabbed some crusty bread that was sitting on my counter.  That bread got ripped up and dipped into this pesto almost before I was done blending it!  The children (and by children I mean teenagers who are always foraging for food and never full…) simply could not resist the aromas floating around, and had to dig in.  I can report, with some satisfaction, that eye rolling and taste bud satisfying moans followed the taste of the pesto and bread.  That is a testament to the fabulous flavors of this recipe.

There is no bigger compliment than to have folks dig into your food fast, succumbing to the delicious scents wafting throughout the house.  Except, of course, a good solid burp.  But after snacking on this pesto and the bread, the belching cannot be far behind!  So go ahead, make this recipe.  Use it 3 ways….and many more!

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One Response to “Rocking the Pesto!”

  1. Shirley K October 22, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    I will have to try this, have never made pesto. love you, mommy

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