FRESH BASIL PESTO
Makes about 1 cup
I don’t know if this happens to you, but every time I get basil in my hands, I can’t use it up fast enough. I add it to salads, sandwiches, soups, you name it, and I still have half of a sad wilting bunch at the end of the week. One day I had enough of throwing away rotting herbs and welcomed home-made pesto into my life. This pesto recipe is flavorful and wonderfully imprecise. It keeps for a couple of days when refrigerated and for long periods of time when frozen or canned.
After making my own pesto a couple of times, I noticed some things that I’d like to share:
First of all, I made a decision to avoid food processors or hand blenders at all cost. As convenient as they are, blended pesto lacked the texture I looked for. I realized chopping all the ingredients by hand prevents them from becoming a homogenized emulsion and allows each ingredient to stand on its own and flavors are highlighted in a way they wouldn’t had they been blended into a runny paste.
Second, the addition of Parmesan cheese isn’t really necessary. It really isn’t. As long as you have a handful of the freshest ingredients you can find, trust me, you won’t miss the dairy.
Last, chopping the ingredients is not as dreadful of a process as most might think. Whenever I make it, I set up a chopping station, get a good playlist going and run my knife through fresh basil leaves for approximately twenty minutes and actually enjoy it. The smell of crushed fresh herbs is absolutely intoxicating and the end result? delicious!
Always remember that whatever you decide to use to chop has to be very, very sharp or your basil will darken. As I’ve said before in other posts, this is a good basic recipe that stands great alone but you can always customize to personal taste and build on it by experimenting with your favorite ingredients.
1 bunch basil, leaves only, washed and dried
3-4 garlic cloves
roughly 1/2 cup of raw pine nuts
a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Start by chopping the garlic along with one quarter of your basil leaves. Once this is loosely chopped add another quarter of your basil and chop some more. Add the rest of your basil gradually until it is finely minced. Now, add about half of your pine nuts and chop them to bits. Add the rest, and chop. You want to chop it all very, very finely. Finally, transfer your mixture into a bowl and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, not much, just a few tablespoons.
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