Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sweet basil pesto

I'm not one for pine nuts: not the taste, not the cost, not the limited use of them.  If I have 1/2 cup leftover after making pesto, I can't add them to chocolate cookies or granola.

But the beauty of pesto is its versatility. After all, 'pesto' is Italian for 'paste'. If I'm happy with the taste, cost, consistency and use of the final product, why follow a recipe?! I'll make up my own recipe in a non-measured sort of way.

And for preserving pesto a la freezer, I never use ice cube trays anymore. I hate having little tiny chunks of pesto, it's never enough. I want to decide how big my chunks are, thank you very much. I use a lipped pan to gather up my pesto and when it's done I pop it out of there and cut it into the sizes I want.  Earlier in the summer (technically, it's still summer) I made five batches of this while listening to Mark Maron interview Iggy Pop. Iggy will always taste like pesto to me now.

Sweet basil pesto

Basil leaves (and the softer top bits of stem seem to be ok too and add more bulk)
Salt, enough to taste (but I guess you could say that about any of these ingredients)
Pepper (I'll use shallot pepper or lemon pepper if I have it to change it up a bit)
Olive oil
Parmesan-romano blend of cheeses (I get mine in a tub from Trader Joes, where the good people have already shredded it. I hate shredding that much hard cheese. Gives me the shivers.)
Almonds, sliced and dry roasted and not salted. Again, from Trader Joes. The land of decently priced nuts.

1. Swish it all around in your food processor.
2. If you need more oil, because it's too dry, then add another glug of oil.
3. If you need more heft to the pesto, give it another sprinkle of sliced almonds.
4. Etc. with the adding of the ingredients.
5. Line a lipped container with parchment paper. With no lip, that pesto will go floating over the edge. The lip's no joke here.
6. Lay that pesto down in the lipped pan/container/pyrex.
7. Let it sit in the freezer overnight.
8. Remove the pesto by pulling on the parchment paper. Or, if you couldn't find the parchment paper and just put the pesto directly into the pan, run some hot water over the back of the pan and the rectangle of pesto will slide on out. *Remember it will slide on out and be ready to catch it or have a cutting board ready to catch it.
9. Now cut the pesto in the sizes you are likely to use. Ice cubes trays always gave me pesto that wasn't enough. Cut it into different sizes and use the smaller ones to add to soup and bigger ones to cover pasta.
10. Date those freezer bags and throw it in the freezer to take the chill off of winter.

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