Let the pesto pop!

17 Aug

Ok..again my Leo comes out…even in my cooking.  Summer sunshine means amazing herbs spring to life in my garden.  My favorite of the summer herbs has got to be basil.  I wash my hands before I pick the delicate leaves so I can allow the delicious scent to linger on my fingers for a few extra minutes. Then I close my eyes, bring my fingers close to my face and breathe deep. Yum!!  It is an herb I simply cannot live without. It plays a starring role in many of my recipes.

Everyone has basil around in the summer.  It is easy to grow, but if that’s not your thing, its super easy to find in the grocery store and farmers markets.  There are a million ways to use it, from simple Bruschetta to complicated sauces.  Summer bruschetta with fresh tomatoes and basil is as refreshing as a popsicle!  But one of my all time favorite ways to use basil is fresh pesto.

Pesto takes moments to prepare and can be used in many different ways. Pesto can be liberally poured over pasta making a delicious side dish. It can be brushed onto fish, adding beautiful color and flavor to either delicate or hearty fish. I have doused chicken with pesto, adding flair to an otherwise bland weeknight dinner. Pesto can also be spread onto a sandwich as a savory condiment.

I love the freedom to use my flavor packed pesto on most everything! It is simple and makes me look like a rock star in the kitchen at times. Who wouldn’t love that? Pesto is very forgiving too. I have adjusted or substituted ingredients without having to sacrifice flavor. I will pass along my pesto recipe and let you have some fun with it too! It is a crowd pleaser, so make plenty and keep it handy in the fridge or freezer.  Bon appetite!

Basic Pesto:

2 cups fresh basil leaves (or 1 cup dried)

1/2 cup parsley leaves

1 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (adjust to taste)

1-2 cloves fresh garlic

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/2 cup fresh parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

FYI- I have tried using toasted pine nuts as well as roasted garlic and it did not make a notable difference in taste. I have also substituted walnuts for pine nuts, and the flavor was great. I have used both “el cheapo” parmesan cheese in the can as well as fresh parmesan cheese, and fresh makes a difference. Use it if you can, but if you only have the can on hand, go for it! I usually add a little more olive oil if I am putting this on pasta. If you are using dried herbs in a pinch, you also may want to increase the olive oil. Go ahead! Play with this recipe! Have fun and enjoy the amazing flavors!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: