Saturday, March 24, 2012

Homemade Basil Pesto


If you are not eating pesto on a regular basis than you are missing out. It is so herb-y and delicious, and it's easy to make your own. If you are thinking about starting a garden this spring be sure to add some basil plants to your cart at the nursery. Then you can make this homemade pesto and enjoy fresh tasting basil goodness all summer long.

3 cups fresh basil leaves
3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
4 whole garlic cloves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Place all of the ingredients above in your food processor except for the olive oil and cheese. Pulse until all ingredients are finely minced. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while food processor is running until you reach a sauce like consistency. You may need a little more or less olive oil. Last add in the Parmesan cheese and pulse just a few times to incorporate. can you use this pesto?

Pesto is delicious with pasta, with chicken, with salmon, and with risotto. You can dip bread in it (only if it's gluten free of course) and use it at a sandwich or panini spread (again only if you are using gluten-free bread). You can use it to flavor a fresh tomato salad or as a topping to a vegetable soup. The possibilities are numerous. However you decide to use your pesto try to mix it in during the last minutes of cooking or even after the dish is finished cooking. This will keep the pesto bright and fresh. can you store your homemade pesto?

Pesto is very freezable. I suggest spooning your pesto into an ice cube tray and freezing the mixture into small blocks, then transferring to a freezer bag. Then just thaw what you need for a specific recipe. You can also keep your pesto in the refrigerator. To keep the pesto brown oxidizing, keep in an airtight container with olive oil drizzled on top. If your pesto does oxidize on top it is still fine to use. Fresh homemade pesto will keep in the fridge for about a week, and in the freezer for 6 months. If I grow basil in the summer, none of it goes to waste, and all of the basil at the end of the season ends up in a big batch of pesto that gets stored in the freezer.

By making your own, you can adjust the pesto ingredients to your specific tastes. Remember, everything tastes better when it's homemade. Enjoy!

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