Pesto

It’s funny how we see dishes or ingredients and crinkle our noses at them for years and then try them by accident and find we love them.  For years whenever we would have Mexican foods or even baked potatoes, the idea of sour cream made me back away.  I didn’t even want to try something that sounded like curdled milk.  I was 15 before I finally did.  I was at a friend’s house and her mother put it on my rice and as it melted in I couldn’t avoid it.  And I was raised to eat everything on my plate, so I did.  And I couldn’t believe I had been missing out on something like that for so long.  It’s the same with pesto, except I waited about 29 years to try it.  It’s greenish black, greasy and sounds horrid.  But even my kids love it now.

This is a really easy sauce to make and store for later use, and it works so well on everything from toasted bread to pasta to poultry – you name it I have found a way to toss it in.  A couple big don’ts before you begin.  Don’t skimp and use dried herbs, jarred garlic, vegetable oil or powdered cheese.  If you aren’t going to make it with real ingredients, then just buy the premade jar of pesto near the pasta sauces.

This recipe makes about two cups of pesto, I typically use about one cup for a serving of four when blending it with pasta.  I have stored this for two weeks.

Ingredients

2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed

2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon pine nuts

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

  • In a blender or food processor, puree basil, garlic, lemon zest and nuts.  You will have to open the food processor periodically and push down the larger chunks so that the consistency is even.
  • Add in sea salt and pepper and cheese, giving it another whirl for about 5 seconds.
  • Scrape into a container with an air tight lid, I use a Mason jar.
  • Pour olive oil over contents and cover.
  • Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
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