Sunday, August 08, 2010

Presto Pesto

Ah, pesto. So green, so fresh, so summer in a jar. Yes, it's the annual pesto post. Basil was plentiful this year. My plants loved growing in their five gallon pickle buckets, much more so than in the garden proper.

And why not? Although I cannot deceive or claim it to be organic, because the secret to their happiness was Miracle Grow Potting soil and those weird granules that turn into a gelatinous, water-holding goo in your container. So be it, I have basil to beat the band and it's delightful!

We've made caprese salad, put it in bruschetta topping, livened up drinks, dropped it into all sorts of recipes, but the main reason I grow so much basil is to make pesto. On pasta, on pizza, in salad dressing, on cheese garlic bread, in either a cream or red sauce as variation, stirred into soup, a jar of pesto can be a chef's secret weapon.

It can be a bit time consuming, I'm picky so I pinch or snip off only the leaves which takes longer. (You can use the stalks to make basil water. Bruise, steep, strain, freeze in cubes, use in soups, stocks & refreshing drinks. Thank you, Martha.)

Grind it up with garlic, pine nuts or cashews, really good extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, some citric acid to keep it green, lemon or powder, and some romano or your choice of hard cheeses. Experiment! Everyone likes it a little different. Some like it chunkier, some like it smoother, some like lots of garlic, I like a lot of basil and less nuts & cheese, (I can always add more cheese when I use it).
There're even pestos made from parsley & cilantro... but to me that's just not "Pesto". Not really. Give that stuff another name and leave me to my basil. We're very happy together.

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