9.18.2007

anything you can do, i can do better...

you know how there's that theory that everyone can do exactly one thing better than anyone else in the world?

i'm pretty sure my talent is pesto...
which is nuts, considering i'd never even heard of pesto until i was like, 22 or maybe even older... (yes, i'm italian. take your concerns up with my father...)

sure, there was a questionable first time... you know, back when i didnt know the difference between a





clove of garlic






and






a whole bulb...










you can probably guess that adding 2 of the one on the right instead of 2 of the one on the left (to anything) may have a *tiny* impact, no?
(don't try it. learn from my mistake. trust me on this one.)


Aside from that whole 'vocabulary' thing, its actually quite easy to make pesto (making it fairly sad that i consider it to be my greatest talent...)



for me, the hard part was measuring and writing it all down so that i could post it here... because, aside from being the thing i do better than anyone else, its also the ONLY thing i do based on feel & taste alone instead of measurments...

the funny part about this receipe is that, save for a little smeared on a pita late one night, i havent eaten any of it yet... i'd bought basil about 3 times this year in hopes of making pesto, each time, not getting around to it until the basil had wilted and turned and gone bad... (its quite sensitive that way) i was hell-bent on not letting that happen again... so even though i wasnt ready to eat it, i made it anyway. and froze it...







no, your eyes arent deceiving you - that's pesto-in-an-ice-cube-tray. a teal ice cube tray, cause i'm a rockstar like that ;) (i considered making mickey shaped pesto but thought the better of it...)
















Kick-Ass Basil Pesto
courtesy of me (and a billion others, i'm sure...)

1 large bunch of basil (like, lots of leaves and stems about an inch or a little more thick) probably about 3 lightly packed cups of leaves...

2 large (or 3 medium) cloves of garlic, minced
3/8 c of good, flavorful olive oil
1/2 tbsp coarse sea salt

3 - 4 tbsp pine nuts, toasted if desired

1/3 c fresh grated parmesan cheese


remove all basil leaves from stems and wash off all remaining dirt.
(one method is to soak leaves in bowl of water, allowing dirt to settle to the bottom and repeating until the water is clear. alternate method is to use a collander. i've done both in my lifetime.)
dry leaves as much as possible, either using a salad spinner or clean towels or paper towels or any other method aside from your dryer...

place all leaves in a mini-chopper. if you dont have a mini-chopper, this recipe has been made in a blender. (a jeff gordon blender, at that) and came out just fine. so improvise...

add the garlic and 1/4 c of the oil. chop, blend, do whatever it is your machinery does until the basil looks well chopped. Open the machine, manually stir around the stuff to make sure that no leaves are stuck on the side, under the blade or anywhere else where they wouldnt get chopped, add the remaining oil and the sea salt and chop/blend/whatever again...

add pine nuts. (if you want to have toasted pine nuts, you can throw them in a sauce pan over medium heat for a minute or so. quite honestly, i dont taste that much of a difference, but you may...)

chop again.

*******************************

if you are going to be using the pesto soon (as in, not making pesto ice cubes) add the parmesan. start with 1/4 c and taste it. I like my pesto fairly cheesy, though i have seen recipes that call for even more... you may not... if you are like me, add the rest of the cheese and blend for a few seconds. if not, just keep adding and tasting til you get it the way you like it...

check the consistency. this makes a fairly firm pesto. you may like yours a bit less so - add olive oil 1 tbsp at a time until you get the consistency and taste you like best. keep in mind that, while olive oil is good fat, its still fat. (i'm looking at you, dad...)



toss over nearly any kind of pasta (gnocchi and tortellini are particularly good candidates) or use for a million other things... pizza, other kinds of pasta mixed with feta, muffins, etc. the possibilities go on and on and on...

*******************************

if you are going to freeze it, dont put the cheese in. (some say dont put the nuts in either but i laugh at them...) instead, divide up into an ice cube tray. This recipe will most likely give you 10 or so cubes if you freeze it all.

When you are ready to use, thaw and add about 1 tbsp of grated cheese per cube.




(dont they look like alfalfa cubes??? dont most of you wish you knew what alfalfa cubes were?????)

4 comments:

Erika said...

I LOVE pesto! I have a million variations, though I'm sure I don't make any of them as well as you make yours (my specialty is roasted potatoes :)). In the spirit of sharing, my favorite variation is Southwest Pesto: substitute cilantro for the basil, smoked almonds for the pine nuts, and pepper jack for the parmesan, and add an extra clove of garlic.

Susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan said...

My new favorite pesto trick? Pesto Artichoke Dip. All you do is chop up some canned artichokes and mix in with the pesto, then spread on crackers, sandwiches or whatnot. Trust me, it will make your eyes roll back in your head.

Oh and if you are going to be super excellent at one thing, pesto isn't a bad way to go!

roopa said...

Dude, you should have made Mickey Mouse shaped pesto cubes.

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