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Perfect Pesto

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    Perfect Pesto

    I am a fan of quick, tasty, easy to cook dinners. I am also a fan of fresh pasta. I am lucky, I have a store near me that sells fresh pasta sheets that they will cut to order, or when I am making lasagna, sell me whole sheets. One thing I like best with fresh pasta is pesto. It is quick and easy to make, and I always find myself with a huge bowl of linguine, eating until I can't eat any more!

    Here is my recipe.

    You can adjust it to suit your tastes.

    1 cup lightly packed washed fresh basil
    4 cloves garlic
    1/3 freshly grated reggiano parmigiano
    1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup pine nuts

    While traditionally, one is supposed to use a curved blade, with handles on each end to finely chop the ingredients in a wood bowl shaped cutting board, I use an immersion blender & a large measuring cup.
    Add the olive oil to the basil, blend lightly, then add the garlic, pine nuts and cheese. Blend until well mixed. Make sure not to over blend. You want to have some texture to the pesto.
    Mix with freshly boiled, al dente pasta and enjoy!

    You have hit upon one of my favorite things- pesto. basil is my favorite thing to add to just about everything when I did cook. I grew my own basil and last time I had a bumper crop. Not wanting to let it go to waste, I pulled it up by the roots and hung the stalks in trees to wash off. well before it dried it came a storm and blew my lovely basil everywhere. It was so mudddy I did end up just about throwing it all away.

    But even bought dried tastes prettyt good to me so I keep it on hand to add to canned pasta now that I don't cook like I use to. makes it better


      Almond Butter

      i LOVE the IDEA of pesto.

      i just don't like the taste. i grow fresh herbs in the summer. right now i have fresh sage and lemon balm growing in pots on my porch. last year i had pots of basil and cinnamon basil. i do like fresh basil chopped up on veggies or put in homemade soups or jarred spaghetti sauce, but it just tastes to strong for me in pesto. i did use the cinnamon basil when i made whole wheat apple bread with walnuts. the cinnamon basil gave it more of a savory flavor. i did enjoy that.

      but i do have a recipe for almond nut butter.

      i buy a 3lb. bag of almonds from costco. about half of a bag of that makes a good cup and a half of almond butter. i put the rest of the almonds in the freezer, until i make another batch of almond butter. leave them in the bag they come in and put them in a freezer bag, too.


      preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
      line a large, clean cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
      pour about a pound and a half of almonds (room temperature) and spread them out evenly on the baking sheet.
      when oven is ready, put cookie sheet with almonds on the middle rack.
      toast almonds 15 minutes, open oven and shake pan to redistribute almonds and toast another 10-15 minutes longer...when your kitchen smells slightly nutty the nuts are done.
      take out almonds and let cool about an hour.

      you have to process these in a food processor as a blender is just too difficult, but you can try it in small batches in the blender, you'll just have to stop and push down the unprocessed nuts and you might not get the even texture. in the food processor you can do all the nuts at one time.

      put the almonds in the food processor and turn it on. let it process until you have the consistency of almond butter that you like. if the almonds aren't moving around constantly, you'll have to stop and scrape down the inside of the processor.

      you can have pure almond butter, but i like to add:
      1 tablespoon of peanut oil
      1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
      1 teaspoon honey

      to my almond butter. the peanut oil makes the nuts process better without slowing down.

      i would NOT use dry roasted almonds. you can try other nut butters, also. walnut butter is a bit heavy tasting to me. i have never tried cashew butter cause i don't like cashews much. pumpkin seed or soy nut butter might be interesting. hazelnut butter might also, but you'd have to make sure the skins were off of those. toasting brings out the flavor of the nuts more.

      Last edited by tic chick; 09-05-2011, 08:34 PM.
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