Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Presto Pesto!


I have a maddeningly intense craving for it at almost any given time. The herbs, processed to smithereens with garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese make me wildly excited to put it on anything besides chocolate.

I'll tell you the great thing about it: it's easy to buy, but it's so simple to make. Parsleys (both curly and Italian) and spinach are relatively inexpensive to purchase and both make fabulous pestos. I always have some of that cheap Parmesan cheese in a tub on hand, as well as walnuts or almonds, and besides the oil, you really don't need much more. Except maybe a spoon, to eat it with.

This post won't be too prolix in style ( I just know you have better things to do than read about pesto), so I'll simply leave you with just a few conclusive thoughts about how to make it, but more importantly, some ideas of how to use it!

1. Don't throw away any leftover leafy, fresh herbs (mint, basil, parsley, tarragon, arugula, etc)- make pesto! Come to think of it, don't throw away any raw nuts you have laying around- freeze them for extensive life and then use any for making pesto--- walnuts, almonds, pecans, and if you're really nut-snooty, pine nuts, are all fantastic options!

2. To make pesto, take a HUGE, and I mean, HUGE handful, if not a couple of 'em, of herbs and stick them in your food processor. Add 2 garlic cloves (please take off that annoying peel first though!) and with a lid on top, process until nicely charded (is that a word)- now, take off the lid, add the cheese, nuts, and process again. Take the olive oil and slowly trickle it down through an opening in your lid and process until the olive oil has brought it all together into a texture that you like (traditional pesto is a perfect balance between pasty and runny). Salt and pepper it if needed (but go easy there horsey, on the salt- as Parm. cheese has a high sodium content!).

3.Freeze any not-being-used-immediately-pesto into your ice cube trays. Use for future cooking.

4. Use pesto for the following: Pasta (duh, right?). Pizza. Bruschetta. Slather on toast, tomato on top, cheese on top of that and stick it in under the broiler. Grilled cheese sandwiches. Toasted pita chips (dude...). Roasted or steamed veggies. Sandwiches. Lasagna. Pasta casseroles. Eggs. Baked potato. Over fish. Over chicken. Over steak. For appetizers. For crackers. For anything you can imagine!!!

Aren't you hungry now for some green stuff???

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