Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pass the Pesto, Please.

You have heard me rant and rave about the CSA I joined earlier this year, Silverlake Farms. This week's surprise was lemon basil. I was just tickled pink with this gem of an herb. Last night, I really thought about how to best this fragrant herb and decided to make a lemon basil pesto. As a devout foodie, I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that this is only the second time I've made a pesto. I saw you roll your eyes and maybe you can hear my big sigh, but alas, it's true. I immediately ran to my cookbook library (duly located in my kitchen) and pull my trusty copy of Mark Bittman's, How to Cook Everything to locate a basic pesto recipe. Yet again, Mark does not disappoint me.
I've included the recipe below, but please note that I used walnuts and in addition to extra virgin olive oil, I included some crushed lemon olive oil I purchased from Beyond the Olive in Pasadena. The pesto turned out perfecto, if I do say so myself. Best described as fruity and mild citrus notes, this pesto would be divine tossed with pasta, or spread over a grilled piece of meat, or even best, tossed with roasted potatoes. Oh we are talking and my mouth is watering just thinking of all the possibilities.
Basic Pesto (adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)
  • 2 loosely packed cups of fresh basil leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 to 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbs. pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
  • 1/2 c. evoo
  • 1/2 freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese

In a food processor combine the basil, salt, garlic, pine nuts and about half the olive oil. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and occasionally adding the rest of oil. Store in fridge for 1-2 weeks or freeze for several months.

Mark recommends that if you are going to freeze the pesto, to do it without the addition of the cheese.

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