Let’s see if this equation is correct…
French fries and pizza sauce can count as a serving of vegetables, rightttttttt?
So then, pesto can count as a veggie too? I hope so, because right about now (with the heat & the humidity) there isn’t a whole lot of cooking being done in the Paulsen house.
We’ve been eating our way through such massive amounts of pesto that I need to find a way to get my basil to grow faster. Even with 8 basil plants, I have to supplement the recipe with other herbs besides the most common ingredient. Luckily, the kids don’t care…so we’ve added arugula, mint, oregano, and even rosemary. My most favorite addition is the arugula. Probably because I can get a huge bag of it at the Farmer’s Market and produce a lot of pesto that way.
Here is my favorite way to make pesto. It is super flexible, so feel free to add more herbs, skip the nuts to watch calories, or play around with the olive oil portion until you get a consistency you like. The biggest difference in my pesto recipe is that I recommend sauteing the garlic for a few minutes to reduce the heartburn/acid reflux (getting old, aren’t I?) that raw garlic seems to bring about.
5 cups green herbs, arugula, and/or spinach
1/2 cup hard nuts (be adventuresome, try something besides pine nuts)
6 garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup freshly grated top quality Parmesan cheese (but guess what…any ‘hard’ cheese will work. I tried cheddar (make sure you use real white cheddar) the other day and it was pretty good)
kosher salt & fresh ground black pepper
Place peeled garlic cloves in a food processor and chop slightly. (Or chop by hand. I use my processor to chop so that I don’t have to dirty up a cutting board. Oh, lazy me.) On medium heat, saute the minced garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Place garlic back into food processor.
Add nuts to the garlic, and chop/blend/puree in your processor until finely chopped. Add herbs, a teaspoon or so of kosher salt, and grind the pepper until you get tired of grinding. Next, start your food processor, and add the olive oil through the side spout. Or, you can do as I sometimes lazily do, and just dump the olive oil on top of the herbs and puree/blend. But if you want to watch how much olive oil you are adding, the side spout should do the trick nicely.
Now, add in the cheese and blend/puree again until you reach your desired consistency. Hmmm…at this point you taste and think, God…how thankful I am that you made basil or arugula or anything green. (On another note, what do you think God’s favorite color is? I think green for sure. But blue is a top contender with all that sky above the basil plants!) Okay, so back to pesto!!!
You can totally make this in a blender, but I have to say, the blender I used to own was crap. Crap with a capital C. I couldn’t do anything with that blender. But some people say they love their blender. I happen to have a NINJA that I adore. It works extremely hard all summer longer blending together pesto for my family. Thank God for NINJAs and basil!
Oh, this recipe makes about 2 to 3 cups of pesto…so half the recipe if you aren’t into eating pesto as much as we are! You can freeze extra pesto in ice cube trays and just place in a resealable bag once the ‘pesto cubes’ are frozen.
Our favorite pesto dishes are obviously over pasta, but its even pretty tasty over a nice juicy steak.
Have a great Friday and stay cool!