Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Summer Pesto

I love summer.  So many good things to eat.

I have made a resolve that this summer will be The Summer of Tacos and Sushi.

I will keep you all posted on how that goes.

For now I want to share the ultimate summer dish...Pesto.

I often eat pesto with a spoon.  I eat it mixed with cream cheese spread on bread.  A dollop in soup.  On warm brown rice.  Brushcetta...of course on pasta...on pizza...and sometimes I even wear it as perfume.

I make my own pesto because it is so easy...because it is so healthy...because it is cheaper...because it is far superior in every way to the pre made packaged stuff.

All the things you will need to make your own are readily available during the summer and are cheap and ultra fresh.

You will however need a food processor.  If you don't have one you can use a blender, but I have had a much easier time with my pesto since getting a food processor.  If you get one you can use it for all kinds of things, it is an essential for the serious cook and I could make a case for it even for the weekend cook.  If you only eat things out of packages...don't bother...befriend a serious cook.

You will need all of these things.

Here I removed the basil from the stems and put it with the parsley in the whirl machine.

Dump all your other ingredients in, I like lemon zest too.  It adds a hint of freshness.

Pulse the whirl machine a few times to chop everything up.

Then let them whirl together until a thick paste if formed.

Then with the whirl machine on, pour in the olive oil in a steady stream.

Let the whirl machine go to town for a few minutes until your pesto looks something like this.

I made my pesto into a pasta salad.  I discovered these little babies at the store and love them for pasta salads because they cook up to just the right size.

They are so tiny and cute, I just love them!

I added garbanzo beans, olives and feta to my salad.  If I had them, I would have added cherry tomatoes.  Grilled veggies would be good too.  And I would have used kalamata olives if I hadn't used them in a greek omelette I made yesterday for Marcus and myself.

Cool your pasta under running water, then toss everything together thoroughly.   A few squeezes of lemon help to maintain the fresh green color of the pesto.

I garnished it because I think that food should be pleasing to look at as well as delicious.  Some chopped walnuts would have been yummy on top too.  Hindsight is always 20/20.

I hope you get to make this, it is so good!  Oh and if you don't like pesto...check with the doctor, because something is very wrong with you.

***Keep in mind that I do not use a recipe, over the years I have gotten the feel of it and every time it is different.  This is a very basic recipe and the variations are endless.  You can add spinach instead of parsley, arugula, cilantro...any fresh green herb.  You can also use any nut or seed in the place of the walnuts.  Hazelnuts are especially yummy in the fall.  I have used pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pine nuts, pecans. My favorite things by far are the ones here in this recipe...Classic!***

Classic Pesto
1 C firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 C firmly packed parsley leaves
1/2 C parmesan cheese
1/4 C walnuts
1 large clove of garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 C olive oil

Put all the dry ingredients in a food processor and process until a thick paste is formed and with the processor running, slowly stream in the olive oil.
Serve right away, or refrigerate tightly covered for 2-3 days.
Freezes beautifully!

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