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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pesto and a Thank You to my Sister

If you have a ton of basil and don't know what to make, make this Pesto! I had made a caprese salad a few nights ago and had some basil sitting around waiting to die, instead I made this great and easy pesto. Pesto is a really great and easy accompaniment to a lot of dishes. It can be tossed with pasta and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Pesto is also really good on sandwiches, or just use a smudge on a fabulous piece of bread for a little snack.

But first I have to give a big loud thank you to my sister, who bought me a new Cuisinart as a house warming gift. This is my first attempt at making anything with the Cuisinart. I'm so excited to make many more things with this great new machine. I have to also give her credit for the Pesto idea, all hers. So thank you sister, this post is dedicated to you.

prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: 15 minutes
yeilds: 3/4 cup pesto

1/8 cup pine nuts (toasted)
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
dash of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil

Over medium heat toast pine nuts in a non-stick pan until lightly browned. Wash basil and dry thoroughly. Place pine nuts, basil, and Parmesan cheese into a Cuisinart (you can also use a blender if you do not have a Cuisinart.) Pulse these ingredients until mixed, add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, pulse again one or two times. Next you want to slowly add the olive oil to the mixture, and make sure to pulse until fully combined. You may need slightly more or less olive oil to get the consistency right depending on your cheese and your basil.

I like my pesto a bit on the thicker side, if you want to thin it out to use as a pasta sauce do not use more olive oil, you should use a bit of the pasta water. If you want to make the pesto a dip and need to thin it out use some fresh lemon juice. You can also add cream cheese and sour cream to pesto for a more substantial chip dip.

One other thing, you may have noticed there is a traditionally major ingredient missing from my pesto. I inherited an inability to digest garlic, it's not a straight forward food allergy. My body has a hard time breaking down the compounds of the garlic, and the taste will linger in my mouth for days, and no matter how much I shower I smell like garlic for like a week. Seriously gross. It's absolutely no fun to wake up at 9 am three days after I've eaten something with garlic in it and still taste it. So I avoid it like the plague. If you are normal, just throw in a garlic clove to the mixture and you'll have a traditional pesto.

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