Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Back to Basics: Basil Pesto

With spring in full bloom, there is nothing that I want more than fresh herbs. Chopped herbs in my salads, on my chicken, in my pasta...I'll add them to anything!

This pesto is chock full of basil and makes the perfect sauce for the warmer season.  It's so easy to put together and is so versatile! I put this on top of my roasted salmon, add extra oil and turn it into salad dressing, and of course, as a sauce for pasta. 

This recipe is from Cook's Illustrated, which always has impeccable recipes. It does not disappoint!

Basil Pesto

1/4 cup pine nuts
3 medium garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano
Ground black pepper

Toast the nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes; set aside.

Add the garlic to the skillet and toast over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant. Let the garlic cool slightly, then peel and chop.

Place the basil in a heavy-duty 1 gallon zipper-lock plastic bag. Pound the bag with the flat side of a meat pounder or a rolling pin until all the leaves are bruised.

Process the nuts, garlic, basil, oil, and salt in a food processor until smooth, stopping as necessary to scrape down the sides of the bowl, about one minute. Stir in the parmesan cheese, and then season with pepper to taste.

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