Friday, July 11, 2008

Making Pesto

Actually a picture of reheated leftovers

The other night I made pesto from the basil at Trader Joe's. I'm not going to put up a recipes simply because I don't follow one myself. Just combine fresh basil, oil, pinenuts, garlic, salt and pepper together in a food processor and adjust to suit your taste. The above picture is penne with sauteed Italian hot sasuage. Here are some tips for making pesto:

  • DO try other oils besides olive. I used this bottle of avocado oil from Whole Foods. Much more complex and satisfying than the cheap olive oil I use to cook.
  • DO use a food processor or you can just chop the basil finely and crush the pinenuts
  • DO have plenty of balsamic vinegar, salt, garlic and oil
  • DO roast your garlic before crushing for a less intense flavor
  • DO mix leftover pesto to mix with mayonnaise for a sandwich boost
  • DON'T skimp on the basil; it should be your limiting ingredient.
  • DON'T try to make pesto in a blender. Trust me, it just doesn't work.
Pesto is a good alternative to the jars of tomato sauce you reach for on lazy nights and much healthier than cream sauces. Although I wouldn't say it's easy to make simply because it uses much hardware that's difficult to clean, you can make a large batch that lasts awhile in the fridge and has many applications besides pasta.

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