Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

     Summer Heidi is making pesto!  Since returning to teaching full-time I have assumed two identities:  Working  Heidi and Summer Heidi. My family loves when Summer Heidi spends quality time in the kitchen baking this or giving guidance on how to make a pan of these, but they also enjoy the paycheck that Working Heidi provides. I am pleased with both. 

     Today I am embracing Summer Heidi by whipping up a batch of homemade pesto. Although Working Heidi will gladly use the jarred variety, Summer Heidi likes the process of picking basil from a plant in our backyard that my youngest son has been tending since April, carefully trimming the fragrant leaves, and being greeted by a container of this vibrant green concoction every time the fridge is opened. 

     My recipe is inspired by Betty Crocker, Pinterest, and Food Network. I started by adding two firmly packed cups of clean, dry basil leaves to my handy dandy blender. Then I layered on Parmesan Cheese, pine nuts, diced garlic, and a few pinches of kosher salt. Next I poured in some olive oil and began to blend. Whenever I combine ingredients in the blender I follow Alton Brown's advice of increasing the speed gradually.  My blender isn't one of the high end versions that has a dial so I have devised my own method:  pulse on low ten times, pulse on high ten times, blend on low for ten seconds, blend on high until a whirlpool appears.   When my pesto was fully combined I tasted it, added a bit more garlic and salt, and whirred it around on high for another minute. 

     Tonight Summer Heidi is using this fresh basil pesto to create Cynthia Sass' Savory Spaghetti Squash. Tomorrow she will probably make some pesto deviled eggs. After that, who knows? Summer Heidi has nothin' but time!  

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe
     (makes about 1 1/2 cups of prepared pesto)

2 cups clean, dry basil leaves (firmly packed)
3/4 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 cups olive oil
1/4 cups pine nuts
4 cloves garlic, diced (or 3 teaspoons prepared garlic packed in olive oil)
kosher salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place the clean, dry basil leaves in a blender.
  2. Addd the cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, and garlic.
  3. Blend, starting off slow and increasing speed gradually.
  4. Stop blender and scrape sides.
  5. Taste.  Add more garlic and salt as needed.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  • Refrigerate pesto for up to two weeks.  Freeze for up to six month.
  • Use pesto to top pasta, roasted chicken, grilled fish, spaghetti squash, and more.  Add to dressings, sauces, or deviled eggs.  

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