Some of the ingredients for an easy pesto recipe. (Photo by Bette Banjack)
“Pesto” is a thick green sauce that can be customized to one’s taste. It can be used on salads, and sauces for pizza and pasta meals. An accompaniment to fish, beef, chicken and vegetables. The most important rule of Pesto is don’t cook it. Warm it up to room temperature before using it. The bright and light taste comes from the greens used especially the basil.
It is best to make it in your own kitchen than it is to purchase it from the store. If you do not like pine nuts or find them too costly you are able to change to other nuts. I especially like to use roasted filbert nuts. They are tasty and remain crisp with a good bit.
The following recipe is easy with suggestions for changes to make following the recipe.
EASY PESTO RECIPE
2 cups fresh basil leaves (no stems)
3 Tbsp. pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic (to taste)
salt & pepper to taste
½ cup extra-virgin olive
splash of fresh lemon juice
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
In a food processor combine basil, nuts and garlic until finely minced. With the processor running slowly dribble in the extra-virgin olive oil. Run until the mixture is smooth add lemon juice, salt & pepper. Add in the cheese and briefly combine – until the mixture is totally combined and smooth. You can use it immediately or store it in a glass container to store in the refrigerator.
*Here are some other ingredients to make a good pesto.
MINT PESTO – use 1 cup basil and 1 cup mint leaves.
PARSLEY PESTO – use 1 cup basil and 1 cup parsley. Use unsalted pistachios instead of pine nuts.
CITANTRO JALAPENO PESTO – Use cilantro leaves, jalapenos peppers and almonds.
You can always mix the greens – remember no stems.
Since pine nuts are expensive, feel free to replace them were ever you can with other nuts. Once in a while make Pesto with pine nuts for a real treat.
Fresh Pesto will keep in the refrigerator for two weeks. Pesto can be frozen for about six months. Lemon juice will keep it from going brown when you first make it.
Pesto originated in Genoa, Italy —the capital city of Liguria, Italy. Pesto is also known as Pesto alla Genovese. Pesto means to pound — which is how it was made in the early 1800s before food processors.
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