Pesto!

19 Jul

Though I made a valiant effort to expand my horizons, the appeal of turning a pound of farm fresh basil into delicious pesto was too much to resist (plus I already had all the ingredients on hand!). And it was delicious.

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Pesto is an ideal way to extend the refrigerator life of a quick-spoiling herb like basil, which only lasts about three days bagged in the fridge. Store pesto in an air-tight container with the top of the pesto glossed in a thin sheen of good quality olive oil, and it will last up to two weeks. Or preserve it even longer by molding a tablespoon of pesto into each compartment of an ice cube tray to freeze. Pop the pesto cubes out into a freezer bag and use them to spice up soups and sauces.

Of course, ours never made it that long — I mixed a little over half of my recipe’s yield into some whole wheat elbow macaroni with a splash of pasta water to make a creamy, minty green pasta sauce. I served it topped with diced tomato and salty strips of prosciutto, which fed us as a main course for a night with leftovers to pack for lunch the next day. The remainder of the pesto we spread on melba toasts with Manchego cheese and olives for a TV time snack platter.

Here’s the recipe I used, which is a little different from the traditional preparation as it swaps out pine nuts for pistachios:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil, packed
  • 1 cup shelled dry roasted and salted pistachio nut meats
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 — 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • juice of half a lemon

Preparation

  1. Using a food processor, grind pistachios.
  2. Add garlic, basil and grated cheese. Blend.
  3. Squeeze in lemon juice and begin adding olive oil; use more or less based on taste and desired pesto consistency. Enjoy!
This recipe took approximately 10 minutes to whip together, and yielded about 1 1/2 cups of pesto.
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