Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dish | Basil Pesto

My schedule has been off lately. I've been busy with work/freelance and mini vacations and it doesn't look like it's going to slow down anytime soon. I've barely been able to cook - which is driving me nuts - even though I have a pretty great list of ideas and projects written down just waiting to be checked off. I got out of work around 9 last night and the idea of making anything felt like a nightmare so I figured, "What's easy?" The answer: Basil Pesto!

Pesto can be used for so many things! It's great on pizzas or use it as a dip or sauce for different breads and pasta dishes. I was able to get everything I needed to make pesto linguine at the corner store on my walk home from work. Doesn't get any easier then that.


4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts (almonds or walnuts work too)
2 garlic cloves, with the skin on
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1  |  In a medium size skillet, roast garlic cloves with the skin still on over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden; 2-3 minutes. Be sure to watch these guys carefully as they tend to burn quickly. Remove skillet from heat and let cool completely.

2  |  Place the basil in a food processor (highly recommended) or a mortar and pestle. Add the garlic, making sure you peel it first, then the pine nuts. At this point you can add the olive oil and lemon juice and pulsate the food processor in intervals of 5-10 seconds until everything starts to smooth out and blend together. If it's still too chunky you can add small amounts of olive oil to break it down.

3  |  Add the parmesan cheese. Give it one last good blend then add salt and pepper to taste. It's done!

From here you can add it to anything you want. I boiled up some linguine, gave it all a good toss and served it with a hunk of baguette on the side. Simple and delicious food at it's best.

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