Friday, December 25, 2015

Basil pesto...

Today I'm posting a very basic recipe, recipe for a pesto. The word pesto means something made by crushing or pounding. To many pesto is synonymous to basil pesto, but it can be any herb or ingredient.The most common known recipe for basil pesto involves Italian basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and salt. But thousands variations are there. Like I have used walnuts instead of pine nuts, the simple reason being pine nuts are very expensive and also difficult to find where I live. One can replace basil with spinach or coriander or some other green fresh herb. So basically it is a combination of green herb, nuts, olive oil, salt and cheese. Pesto is generally used as sauce for pasta. It can also be used as spread for sandwich, or as pizza sauce or as dip. I do love to have a spoonful of freshly made pesto, just like that.

Traditionally morter and pastle is used to make pesto. I have used a food processor to do the same. The basil I have used is homegrown. It is very easy to grow basil in Indian climate.

Things needed to make Basil Walnut Pesto:

  • Basil: 4 cups
  • Walnut: 1/2 cup
  • Garlic: 2-3 cloves
  • Parmesan cheese: 1/2 cup
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup
  • Salt to taste

Steps of making Basil Walnut Pesto:

1. In a food processor add walnut, garlic, cheese and salt, using the pulse mode finely chop all the ingredients. Gradually add the basil and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend until a smooth paste is formed.

2. With the blender running add the olive oil. Blend well so the olive oil emulsifies well with the paste. Add less olive oil if you are going to use the pesto for sandwich spread. Add more olive oil if you are going to use it as paste sauce.

3. Taste the pesto, add salt or cheese accordingly.

4. Pesto turns dark and takes a brown color if exposed to air. So immediately transfer to a sterilized glass jar, pour olive oil to cover the top. Close the jar and store in refrigerator for 7-8 days. Pesto can be frozen and store for months. I prefer to make fresh pesto as needed.

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