Monday, September 13, 2010

Three Basil Pesto

Eric asked me to try this week's recipe.  It had to be altered quite a bit due to availability of ingredients and laziness (I didn't want to go to the store).

For your convenience, here is the original recipe.

I ran into a few problems here:  pine nuts are really expensive right now, I didn't have Pecorino Romano cheese, I only had two cups worth of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, I didn't have Bush Basil or Parsley.  I ended up making some substitutions and halving the recipe.  I used the three types of basil I have growing in my garden.  I also assumed Sweet Basil is the same as Italian Basil so I used mostly that.  Here's what I ended up with:

Three Basil Pesto
Three Basil Pesto on a bed of spaghetti with chicken and homegrown eggplant.

2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 Cup Walnuts (not chopped yet)
2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, grated
2 1/2 cups 3 types of FRESH Basil Leaves.  Mine worked out something like this
      1 1/4 Cups Sweet Basil Leaves
      3/4 Cups African Blue Basil Leaves
      1/2 Cup Lemon Basil Leaves
2 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp Black Pepper
Splash of Lemon juice

More basil than I thought necessary (along with the rest of the ingredients in the back) turned out to be just enough to half the recipe.  Picking the basil took forever.

Pulse garlic in a food processor until finely chopped, then add nuts, cheeses, a large handful of herbs and pepper and process until chopped.  Add remaining basil one handful at a time, pulsing after each addition until finely chopped.  With motor running, add oil and blend until incorporated.

I put the end result over spaghetti, grilled chicken (with truffle salt!) and eggplants I had picked from the garden a few days before.

  • It was tasting too cheesy for me (I never thought I'd say that), so I added a splash of lemon juice.  Eric thought I could have added more nuts instead, but the lemon juice turned out well.
  • For a smoother texture, make the pesto in a blender.  Make sure to scrape down sides frequently.
  • Pesto can keep for a bit in the fridge, but it will brown (yes, even with lemon juice) so be sure to cover the surface.  It can be kept frozen for a few months as well, again, make sure to press out excess air in sealed plastic bags.


jaytee said...

if you put it in the fridge, cover with a layer of olive oil, that should prevent it from browning. and also, make the olive oil yummy when you drain it off.

you can also freeze this, although i think they suggest doing that without the cheese in it.

Eric said...

"It can be kept frozen for a few months as well, again, make sure to press out excess air in sealed plastic bags."

OR buy a vacuum sealer, hint, hint!

Jaimee said...

You already bought a vacuum sealer. There goes a Christmas present for you. JT, I'm gonna try the olive oil trip next time (although with the amount of work getting all those basil leaves off the stem was, I don't know when that will be).

jaytee said...

also, pest can also be made (with awesome results) from spinach, or even arugula! and in place of the pine nuts, you can use walnuts!


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