Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pesto - It's the Besto!

About a month ago, my sister and I were at the Davis farmers market when we came across a woman selling herbs for $1 each. It was too good of a deal to pass up, so we swooped up a bunch of different herbs (basil, parsley, dill and chives) and away we planted. I also have a couple of other plants on my patio too keep the herbs company - a dwarf lemon tree and eggplant. Too bad my tomato plant died though. That thing thrived in the cold, rainy weather, but shriveled up and hated the hot weather. So strange.

A few weeks later, the herbs grew like weeds and what do you do with too much basil? Make pesto of course! Now, all of the pesto I find in the store either is way too oily or just doesn't have enough garlic. So, I wanted to find a recipe and add my own twist to make it how I like it. If you know me well enough, you know I love garlic. No, really, I LOVE garlic. I will roast a bulb of garlic in the oven until its golden sweet and gobble it up. Some people will mash it up and put it on bread, some people add it to other recipes, but I just eat it like so. I especially love it when it gets crunchy - it's like candy. My mom says I must be a true Sicilian girl since it's like candy to me. But I digress. 

I must say my first pesto making experience was a success. It took a little bit to get the blender to not sound like a revving engine, but once it did, it was like liquid green yumminess. The only difference you might see in my pesto compared to other recipes is that I used toasted walnuts. Most recipes call for pine nuts, but you can really use any nut you have in your house (maybe not peanuts though - that doesn't sound good). Oh, and make sure you buy a chunk of good parmesan cheese and grate it yourself (if you get the kind with the rind, save it. You can add it to soup and add a TON of flavor from something you might think to throw away). Just promise me you will not use that powdered stuff in the can. Trust me, the cheese makes all the difference. Plus, you can nibble on it while you are making the pesto. Although, you won't have much time to nibble. This recipe is fast and you can use it for just about anything - marinade, on pasta, in hummus, on pizza, as a dip, and the list goes on and on. See, pesto is really the besto!

Note - You can freeze this pesto too. If you do, make sure to put it in an airtight container and put a small layer of olive oil on top (I put mine in canning jars). The basil will turn brown if you don't. If you only need a tablespoon or two at a time, you can even freeze the pesto like you would ice cubes and pop them out as you need them!

 Pesto (slightly recreated from

3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
5 -7 cloves garlic
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup toasted walnuts (or pine nuts)
Salt to taste


Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and nuts in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend to a smooth paste.

Note: You may need to add a little more olive oil depending on how thick you like it. I had to add about 1/4 cup more then the recipe stated.

See. I told you it was easy.

1 comment:

  1. And this is why we're soul sisters, kindred spirits, all of the mama is Sicilian, too. I love your new blog and keep it up! I have heard the pesto/ice cube trick before but never tried it, although I do usually freeze half when I make it (Andy allergic to tree nuts, so pine nuts are what I use). I have also been known to munch close to the rind of parmesan when it's too small to grate, but soup is a good idea, too....
    And I had to laugh at your parmesan-out-of-the-can comment. It's one of those things that I forget exists until you are telling someone a recipe and THEY have never heard of parmesan that DOESN'T come in a can, so you have to describe a block of what my mom called "grating cheese" to them. Hugs!!!