Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fresh Basil Pesto

Fresh sweet basil from the garden...where have you been all my life?  

My neighbor, Kennita, has been making delicious pesto for a long time, and last summer, I decided to get in on her secret!  Very, very glad I did!

You may still be able to snag a sweet basil plant at your local nursery, but if not, you can find fresh basil at the grocery store for this divine delicacy!  Pop it in a pot on your back porch, and you'll have easy access to it when you're ready to make the best homemade pesto!

Easy Pesto Recipe
6 cloves fresh garlic, toasted**
4 cups fresh sweet basil leaves, rinsed and stems removed
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup fresh, grated Parmesan cheese
Salt or pepper to taste

Place garlic cloves (in skins) in a small, heated skillet.   Toss in skillet a few minutes until a few black spots emerge.  Transfer to a plate to cool, and immediately place pine nuts in hot skillet.  Lowest heat setting recommended for toasting the nuts, as these toast very quickly!  Continue tossing until lightly toasted and transfer to plate.  Remove garlic skins when cool enough to touch.

Grate the parmesan cheese.  The Microplane Zester is perfect for grating hard cheeses.  Found at Bed, Bath, and Beyond or online.  Love this tool!

Using a mini or a regular food-processor, add all ingredients, except olive oil.  Gradually add the olive oil. 

Taste and add salt or pepper, as desired.   

This recipe makes a large batch and can be halved easily.  Also can be frozen for later use in soups, over baked chicken, or atop pizza with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese!

Serve as an appetizer with toasted bread or atop fresh pasta for a main dish!

Recipe adapted from Chris Kimball's Cooks Illustrated.

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