Monday, August 6, 2012

Recipe Of The Day: The Classic Pesto

Over the weekend we got a few tweets asking us just what is Pesto and how hard it is to actually make. Pesto is a sauce that originates in Genoa, Italy and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil and Pine nuts, blended with olive oil & Parmigiano Reggiano. These days, crushing the nuts by hand and using a mortar and pestle is a bit much for some people so the recipe is widely made in a food processor or blender.

When I was in Culinary School, I was amazed at how quickly one of my Chefs would pull together a quick Pesto a few of his choice students were allowed to snack on after the madness of the day had subsided.

The great thing about Pesto sauce is that it goes with A few fresh ingredients that pull together rather quickly and can be added to quite a few different dishes. Try mixing it directly into the pot you boiled your pasta in (after draining it of course,) drizzling over minestrone for a garnish, sprinkled over sliced beef steak tomatoes, the possibilities are endless.
Whatever you do, enjoy it, cause it is truly one of life’s treasures.

2.5 Cups Packed Fresh Basil Leaves
3 Cloves Garlic (if your familiar with roasting Garlic, roasting the garlic first, allowing it to cool down, then incorporating it into this recipe makes it that much more amazing.)
¼ Cup Pine Nuts
1 TBS Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
2/3 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, Divided
Kosher Salt And Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
½ Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

Combine the basil, garlic, pepper flakes and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
If using immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth.
Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
This is a recipe that can be frozen, If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and lightly drizzle the remaining oil over the top, but do not stir it in. Also only stir in the cheese if your going to be using the Pesto right away. That way the cheese will keep its crisp flavor.
Freeze for up to 2 months.  
Thaw and stir in cheese, when ready to use again.

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