Sunday, January 30, 2011

Megan's Pesto

My sweet little basil plant!
When I was in graduate school, I was OBSESSED with pesto. I mean, seriously obsessed. I had two basil plants in my room because it was more cost-effective than buying basil every time I wanted it…which was often. Anyway, I love pesto so much that when my friend and former boss Matt returned from Florence recently, he brought back some authentic Italian pesto. I can’t wait to try it!!

Back to my obsession with pesto…I found myself frequently disappointed when I would buy pesto in the stores. Occasionally I would find something suitable at a farmer’s market, but the money and disappointment became too much for me in the end. Then one evening, while on-call for work and overseeing a tumultuous mid-week move, a resident gave me her recipe for homemade pesto. She even supplied me with pine nuts so I didn’t have to go to the store! Perfection!

Side note: I am aware that making pesto is not baking, but it has become a signature recipe in recent years. It is worthy of this blog because I love it so very much and needed to share it with all of you. Also, when I finally decide to make my own pizza dough, I will need something equally impressive to pair with it…enter my homemade pesto. So this is a precursor to a future baking endeavor.

When I first started making pesto, I had to use my blender…the one that was a 21st birthday gift from my sister Erin. But now I have Cuisinart food processor (24th birthday gift from Mom and Dad!) and I was excited for another reason to use it! I’ve combined the recipe from my resident and the Cuisinart cookbook. The result? A fabulous basil pesto that is the perfect complement to pizza, pasta, and more!

Megan’s Pesto
1-2 cloves fresh garlic
1 ounce fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons pine nuts (or walnuts)
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

With the food processor running, drop the garlic cloves down the feed tub and process to chop, about 5 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl.
Chopped garlic perfection!

Add the basil to the work bowl and pulse to chop, 20 to 30 times. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl.
Basil ready to be chopped up!
And by the magic that is Cuisinart, it's chopped!

With the food processor running, add the olive oil in a slow drizzle. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl.
Slowly pouring in the olive oil!
Halfway there!!
Add the parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Pulse to incorporate and chop the nuts. Add the salt to taste.  
Now it's cheesy and nutty! :) And ready for pasta!

Makes 6 ounces of pesto.
3 ounces in each container--one to freeze, one for right now!

Thanks for stopping by again!

<3 Buttercup

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