- 1/4 cup pine nuts (lightly toasted in a dry skillet for 4 to 5 minutes)
- 3 medium cloves of garlic (I use 4, and toast them, too, with the skins on for about 7 minutes, and then peel)
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 TBS fresh parsley (I use extra -- about 1/4 cup of flat leaf -- it keeps the pesto nice and bright green)
- 7 TBS extra virgin olive oil, salt (to taste)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan (pecorino is even better).
- Place the toasted nuts, garlic, basil/parsley (first bruise the leaves of these together in a freezer bag by beating with a mallet, or using a rolling pin -- or if you have one, a mortar and pestle), oil, and 1/2 tsp of salt in a food processor, and process until smooth.
- Transfer to a small bowl and stir in cheese.
- If you're not using right away, place a layer of plastic wrap over the top and refrigerate for up to three days.
- If you're using on pasta, be sure to mix about a 1/4 cup of reserved pasta cooking water into the pesto before you toss through the pasta. ENJOY!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Best Pesto Recipe Ever!
We love Pesto -- not just in the summer months, but all year long. After 20+ years of making it, I believe I've found the Best Ever Pesto Recipe. It's, ironically, from The New Best Recipe Cookbook (from the editors of Cook's Illustrated) -- a must have cookbook! It's best, of course, when you make it with home grown basil and parsley (flat leaf is best), but store bought works fine, too.
What: Fresh basil, parsley, toasted garlic and pine nuts, good parmesan cheese and extra virgin olive oil -- what can be better?!
Why It's the Best: Toasting the pine nuts lightly brings out the fullness of their flavor, and the toasting of the garlic cloves is key to the success of this recipe -- it tames the harsh garlic notes, and loosens the skin for easier peeling. And, pounding/bruising the leaves of the herbs before using them releases more of their wonderful flavor.
How We Know: Family and friends love it, and we never tire of eating it (in many different ways -- on pizza, pasta, grilled shrimp/chicken, crostini with goat cheese -- be creative), and it's the first pesto we've ever had where the flavors of the basil and other ingredients aren't overpowered by the garlic -- no dead vampires in our bedroom the morning after!
Craving Level: Frequent -- especially in the summer months when fresh herbs are abundant.