Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pesto, With Toasted Almonds and Garlic

What do you do when you have a ton of basil that needs to get used up??



Fresh, light, and oh so tasty - homemade pesto is so much better that store bought, and you can customize it to your liking!

Oh, and I almost forgot - this is so easy, my 3 year old can make it!!
He loves to help in the kitchen.

Serves 6-10

What you will need:

  • 1 big bunch fresh basil
  • a small handful toasted almonds (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1-4 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 oz hard cheese (Pecarino Romano, Parmegano, Asiago...)
  • 1/2 teaspoon + olive oil
  • water
  • salt to taste

If your almonds aren't toasted, toast them in a pan on low heat for a few minutes until they brown lightly and become fragrant.
Let them cool completely before making the pesto.
I buy raw slivered almonds in bulk and toast them when I bring them home so they are always ready to use.

Separate all the basil leaves from the stems and discard the stems.

If using s solid piece of cheese, break it into smaller pieces.

I like to use my Magic Bullet for pesto - its so easy! But you can use a blender, food processor or mortar and pestal.

Stuff the basil, almonds, cheese (I like Pecarino Romano, it's my FAVORITE!), garlic (use as much as you'd like depending on your taste - I like a lot of garlic, so I use about 3 large cloves for a cup to a cup and a half of finished pesto) and salt (just a pinch to start with) into the Magic Bullet - not too tightly, it has to have room to move around.

Next, add in a drizzle of olive oil, about 2 teaspoons to start, and and equal amount of room temperature water.


If using a Magic Bullet, pulse on and off and shake the bullet to get all ingredients mixed thoroughly.
If using a blender or food processor, pulse it, and scrape down the sides often.

You will almost definitely have to add more liquid - to keep it light, add more water, for genuine pesto flavor, add more olive oil - about 1/2 teaspoon as a time to avoid making it too wet. Stop when it is a consistency you like.

Taste and add more salt if necessary.

I just love the bright fresh color - not dull and dark like jarred pesto.

Serve this any way you would store bought pesto - toss it with hot pasta, us it in a pasta salad, spread it on pizza instead of a tomato based sauce, use it on a sandwich in place if mayonnaise, spread it over a piece of salmon before you grill it - or use your imagination!

Tonight - I tossed it with tortellini, and sauteed vegetables and finished it off with some seared slices of chicken sausages for the boys, and a few leftover chunks of salmon for me.

It was delicious!!



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