Friday, August 26, 2011

Hey Pesto!

There's a jar of liquid gold in the fridge. (Actually it's green, but I value it very highly.)

My basil has been growing like gangbusters this summer - I gave it a sunnier spot in the planter and it's rewarding me with bountiful bunches of anise-scented deliciousness. I have invested heavily in foreign oil (olive, not crude) and Parmesan cheese, and am now happily wallowing in pesto.

The king of herbs

(If you're a pesto purist, you might want to stop reading here.) Up till now I've been making small batches using the immersion blender, which creates a very dense, smooth sauce. (I know, I know, a mortar and pestle are better, but my bursitis-y elbow takes exception to that process).

For my latest batch I decided to try the regular blender. Having a hazy idea that liquids should go in first, I started by pulverizing the olive oil, grated cheese, salt, garlic and walnuts...

...then stuffed in the basil leaves and let 'er rip, taking the lid off every now and then to scrape the sides and encourage the basil down towards the blade.

It yielded a pleasantly chunky sauce, oozing with antioxidants and flavour. (The level of emulsification wasn't perfect, but that doesn't bother me. A bit of oil rising to the top helps keep it green.)

Next time I'll start with half the oil, put in all the ingredients at once, then slowly add the other half of the oil after the initial blending. That should do the trick.

Hey pesto!

Our scrambled eggs certainly don't have any complaints.

P.S. If you'd like to try making some pesto of your own, there are plenty of good recipes out there on the Internet. I don't follow a recipe, but I do start with these proportions:

1 part olive oil : 2 parts grated fresh Parmesan : 4 parts fresh basil leaves, packed
(Extra oil may be added as needed)
Fresh garlic, walnuts, and salt to taste

To use the ratio method, measure your basil and work backwards from there to determine how much cheese and olive oil you need. And if your budget allows, splurge on a bit of genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for authentic Italian flavour.

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  1. I could almost smell the aroma of the basil.

  2. Oh, you are so right on the cheese. So worth the extra pennies (and even dollars). This sounds so yummy. I haven't tried homemade pesto yet, but now I have to. Thank you!

    And thank you for being such strong invisible arms. Love the song you sang today! I'll be singing it on Sunday while I pedal!

  3. I've got to try this and you definitely make it sound doable! :) Thank you for posting this!!!


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