Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Blender Pesto

(this is an updated version of a recipe I posted last October)

As I noted last year around this time, my basil's days are numbered anyway, so it's time to make pesto!

We like to put a dollop in a dipping bowl and drench it in extra virgin olive oil and use this pesto as a dipping sauce with italian bread. Yum!

Blender pesto

Servings: 6

Notes: Adapted from a recipe in "The Classic Italian Cook Book" by Marcella Hazan, published by Knopf. If freezing this pesto, blend the basil, olive oil, nuts, garlic cloves and salt in a blender and freeze. To use, thaw the pesto mixture and then add the cheese and butter.

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsps. walnuts
2 cloves peeled garlic, lightly crushed with a heavy knife
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsps. butter, softened to room temperature

1. Put basil, olive oil, nuts, garlic cloves and salt in a blender (or food processor) and mix at high speed. Stop from time to time to scrape down sides with a rubber spatula.

2. When ingredients are blended, pour them into a bowl and beat in cheese.

3. When cheese has been evenly incorporated into the other ingredients, beat in butter.

4. If spooning pesto over pasta, add a tablespoon or two of the hot water in which the pasta has boiled.

If you are making a batch to be used as a dipping sauce with EVOO, store it in a tall, narrow container with a tight lid. The pesto will brown when exposed to air, much like guacamole, so you'll want to have the smallest surface area possible. You can also press a bit of plastic wrap on the surface to form a "skin" to avoid the browning and make your pesto last longer in the fridge. I have also learned that you can substitute pistacios for the walnuts or you could use the traditional pine nuts but they're expensive and get racid very quickly. Walnuts or pistatios are more stable.

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