Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pesto

Around our house, summer means pesto.  We grow two crops of our own basil, and usually have pesto once a week until the plants turn woody.  The girls have their own pesto song and dance - and they have learned to make this dish on their own.  In the height of the growing season, we make some batches without cheese for freezing for winter.  But, really, we like it best fresh.

I know many people like to use a food processor or a blender for pesto.  I was once one of them.  However, I've converted to chopping all the ingredients by hand, and we like it so much better.  In fact, the children don't know it any other way.  Once, I had so much basil, I used the blender to try to keep up.  The kids didn't like the pesto at all.  They were very clear:  chopping is better.  So, you might want to give it a try!

Ingredients

  • 5 cloves garlic 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh basil (packed)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese 
  • 1/2 cup romano or asiago cheese 
  • 1 lb pasta of your choice


Directions

Step 1:  Mix the garlic and oil and put on the water
  • Pour the olive oil into a large bowl
  • Mince or press the garlic
  • Add the garlic to the olive oil
  • Let sit while you do the rest
  • Put on the water for the pasta
Step 2:  Chop the basil
  • roll the leaves together on the cutting board in small batches
  • chop fine with a knife
  • add to the olive oil in the bowl
Step 3: Crush the nuts
  • put the nuts in a plastic zip lock bag
  • use a meat tenderizer or other type of hammer to crush the nuts
  • add to the bowl and stir
Step 4:  Add the grated cheese
  • Grate the cheese using the medium size side of the grater
  • Sprinkle in the cheese, stirring as you go
  • Add more oil if needed to moisten all the cheese
  • Salt to taste  
  • Let sit as you cook the pasta
Step 5:  Cook the pasta and toss
  • Cook the pasta until al dente
  • Put in colander and spray the pasta with some cool water
  • Let pasta cool a bit as it drains
  • Put pasta in the bowl with the pesto and toss, like a salad, until the pesto is mixed in. 
  • Pour into serving bowl  
  • Garnish with left over basil leaves




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