Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hey Pesto!

Remember that basil I planted, several posts back? It's really taking off now that hot weather has settled in to stay. So it's time to make pesto.

I whipped up the first batch of the summer a couple days ago, and it tastes like the best ever. That's probably because in addition to the basil, it includes fresh mint and dill from friends' gardens.

Here's the recipe as it stands this week. You can substitute other herbs, too - parsley and oregano are especially good. Or, of course, you could use all basil. You can include the tender stems of any of the herbs; but remove any that seem tough or otherwise unappealing.

2 cups lightly packed basil leaves
1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh dill
1 sage leaf (it happened to fall off the sage plant, so I threw it in)
Three small cloves fresh garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts (walnuts also work well)
1 Tablespoon chickpea miso (or other light miso)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon umeboshi plum paste (everything's better with plum paste!)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put everything but the oil into a food processor, and pulse to chop. Then turn the machine on low and add the oil in a thin stream through the feed tube. Process the mixture briefly, stopping the machine to scrape down the sides of the work bowl if necessary, until the pesto is the consistency you like.

The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator, coated with a thin film of olive oil to keep it from browning from contact with the air. Or it can be frozen for long-term storage. I use pesto mainly on pasta or as a sandwich spread (especially with homegrown tomatoes...) Do you have any suggestions for other uses for pesto?


At 6/29/2007 4:58 PM, Blogger Andy said...

I use peanuts in my pesto instead of pine nuts. It tastes yummy and is way less expensive. When you are out of pasta to use it on, spread on a slice of toast. Mmmm mmmm good.

At 6/29/2007 9:51 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

That's a great -- and money-saving -- idea, Andy!

In my opinion, just about everything tastes better with pesto on top of it. ;-)


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