Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Easy Homemade Pesto

Because nobody likes to cook during summer, today I'm giving you a way to create dozens of great meals without working up a sweat. All you have to do is run your blender or food processor for a few seconds, and make a batch of pesto!

Pesto is easy to make and enhances countless dishes.  Making it yourself will also save you a tidy bundle, since purchased pesto is not cheap.  It also makes very appreciated gifts, in little jars everyone will love.

Basically, it's a thick spread made from delicious Italian ingredients, and used on pasta,
chicken, seafood, sandwiches, quesadillas, potato salads, vegetables, omelettes, bread, pizza--
one of my kids once said, "I'll bet you would put pesto on ice cream."  It's that versatile. (Check out my blog post about how to make shrimp scampi with it here:;postID=2493541591824029624;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=17;src=postname
It uses basil leaves, which are plentiful at the market right now, but I urge you to grow your own basil.  Keep snipping it so it doesn't flower and go to seed, and use the chopped, fresh leaves in your cooking.  (So divine with tomatoes, mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar to make a Caprese salad).  If you don't have space for a garden, basil grows well in a planter on the patio.  Like all herbs, it needs sunshine, so place it where it will get full sun.  Keep it watered and you can supply your neighbors with basil all summer!
Here's how to make it into pesto:
2 Cups packed fresh basil leaves
1 Cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Cup pine nuts
1/3 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
Whirl until smooth.  That's it!  You'll get just under two cups of pesto.  Use it on sandwiches in place of mayonnaise, top a baked potato with it, spread it on french bread, cover with mozzarella and broil until bubbly, here I go again.  Have a delicious, carefree summer!

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