Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pesto, with apologies

Wow, it has been a long time since I posted here. Many apologies-- but I've survived exams and a summer field season in Egypt! Yay!
Upon arrival in the US, one of my first stops was the farmer's market to stock up on fresh produce. Honestly, the selection was poor but I did find a great deal-- a bunch of basil practically as big as I am for $3. Of course, that meant I made pesto.
I don't have photos, since we ate it all... but it looked as good as it tasted.

Pesto is really easy to make, especially if you happen to have a food processor. If not, you can do it in a blender or by hand, but it takes longer. Do not be intimidated.

First, wash and dry a bunch of basil. I didn't come close to using my whole bunch, but that's ok because it'll make a lovely caprese salad later. The drying part is pretty important, so don't get lazy and skip it. If you're blending, throw the basil (just leaves, no stems) and a bit of olive oil into the food processor with a clove of garlic. As it gets started, you can add more olive oil until it gets to the right consistency.

Pine nuts would be good in it too, but they're so expensive! So you can use almonds or something else if you want that toasty, nutty quality. You can add them whole, chopped, or blend them in. Salt and pepper to taste.

Grate up a big bunch of parmesan cheese, quite fine, so it'll mix in well. Finally, add the cheese after you're otherwise done. And just add the cheese to the part you're serving-- anything you're refrigerating or freezing should get cheesed when it's ready to be served.

If you want, you can thin the pesto with some nice starchy pasta water to make it spread over pasta better, and don't oil your pasta before you add the pesto, or it won't stick.

I tossed the pesto with some cubed chicken and halved cherry tomatos, and it was divine.

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