Saturday, June 6, 2009

Homemade Pesto

My CSA bag I picked up at our local farmer’s market had a big, bright bunch of fresh basil within that was beckoning to either become a Caprese Salad or pesto. The tomatoes we got this week aren’t quite ripe enough to eat, so I opted for the latter. (That, and the fact that on Day 3 of this Blueprint Cleanse I cannot eat...only drink, and I'm not talking wine my friends.) So anyway, I made pesto. The benefit: pesto can be easily made, then frozen. When you’re looking for a simple supper, you can then thaw it and either toss the pesto with pasta, or drizzle it over grilled chicken, fish or veggies.

I used a blender because my Cuisinart has been broken for I don’t know how long. I prefer using a Cuisinart b/c you have more control over the consistency, using the pulse button. But a blender is what I have these days, so here goes:

Homemade Almond Pistachio Pesto

Almonds (I used dry roasted, unsalted slivers from TJ’s because that's what I had in my pantry)
Pistachios (I ran out of almonds, so moved on to pistachios…shelled, dry roasted, unsalted)
Olive Oil
Lemon Zest or Lemon Juice (for a little zing)
Kosher Salt
Vegetable Broth (if necessary, to thin the pesto)

Pop your fresh basil leaves into a Cuisinart or blender, along with ¼ cup of olive oil, a dash of kosher salt, a couple peeled cloves of garlic, the nuts and a squeeze of lemon or some lemon zest if desired. Pulse until all ingredients are chopped and blended.

Pesto is not a precise science…you can continue to add ingredients (more olive oil, another clove of garlic, a bit more salt, a little more lemon zest...) as need be until you reach the desired consistency and taste.

As I mentioned, I ran out of almonds so I tossed in pistachios too. Pesto is traditionally made with pine nuts, but I didn’t have any on hand. The beauty of a pesto is that you can play with the ingredients, flavors and consistency. Pesto can go from creamy consistency (as mine is because of the blender) to chunkier. The longer you blend it, the creamer it will be.

Pesto will last a couple of days in the fridge, but several weeks in the freezer.

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