Classic Pesto

#RecipeUpTop (details below):

  • 2 hand-fulls of fresh basil (home grown preferable);
  • 1 hand-full of fresh flat-leaf parsley (home grown preferable);
  • 3 large garlic cloves;
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts;
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese;
  • 2/3 cup olive oil;
  • Salt (to taste);
  • Black pepper (to taste);

Method: Combine the herbs, garlic, pine nuts, and half of the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse to combine. Add additional olive oil to desired consistency, and season with parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste, adding additional oil to maintain consistency against the added parmesan.

The Details

Basil is stupidly expensive. It just is. Unfortunately, it’s also delicious, fragrant, and completely irreplaceable. Simply put, there is no substitute for a classic fresh basil and pine nut pesto.

The weather here on the mountain has slipped into something more steamy, and we’re having a run of 95% humidity days. The sort of air mass that leaves one sticky and sweaty without any of the fun ways of getting there. As a result, our dinner conversations of late have become a bit of a self-fanning melange of “what do you want? It’s too hot to cook.”

Fortunately, the flora around here have also started to take off, including our herb garden which has exploded with enough basil to sink a ship, and thus to beat the heat and to use up a perishable favorite, we turn to the tried-and-true pesto for the low-low price of: free.

In full disclosure, this is a Mrs. 10Chickens recipe, and although there are some things I might do differently from a technical standpoint, I can’t argue with results. So, let’s get to it.

Step one: Get everything except half the oil and all of the cheese into the bowl of a food processor:

Do you need a food processor for this? Well, yeah, kinda. If you have a quality stand blender, you can probably get away with that, but otherwise you may be out of luck.

Pulse this until combined.

Step two: season and adjust. Drizzle in some of the remaining oil until you get a desired consistency, then season with salt, pepper, and grated parmesan. You’re going to need to play a little game with the oil and the parm to make sure you maintain your consistency while also getting to where you want to go with flavor.

After each addition, pulse a few times to combine, and taste. When you have it where you want it, go ahead and move it to air-tight storage and let it meld in the fridge for an hour or so before using. You can also freeze it, but frankly we use it too fast.

And what uses? Well, pasta is the classic, but don’t let that be the end of your journey. It’s fantastic on pizza, great as a spread on a chicken sandwich or with some ciabatta, fresh mozzarella, and ripe garden tomato. But, yeah, pasta.

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