“… I did it myyyyyy waaaaay….” (And so did Sid. Proceed with caution.)
Ok, I know what you’re thinking – or do I? – I’m not going to tell you anything you haven’t heard before.
But maybe I will?
It’s pesto. We’ve heard of and seen it a million times before. So what else is new?
Well, Suburban cowboy told me that pine nuts are now being sold for $20 per something (Per pound? Per Costco sized bag?) so Costco stopped selling them. I guess no one bought them for this high price.
I love pine nuts. Do you?
I love all nuts. Do you?
So first, let me tell you a secret. If you’re using your nuts untoasted, you’re nuts, or simply throwing away your money. They just don’t taste like nuts when they are raw. Nuts should be lightly toasted to get the best flavor out of them. Capish?
Some pesto recipes will direct you to use the nuts, pine or not, raw and you won’t be able to taste them since the basil is so potent.
Now. Second point, pesto is really like Hummus:
1. you have to follow your instincts
2. you have to listen to your inner self
3. you have to do it “my way”. Ok, your way.
4. and, rely solely on your own judgment/don’t listen to me
So… the other day… I sent Suburban cowboy to the grocery store. One of the items on the list was basil.
I’m pretty sure I made a note regarding the quantity.
And… He… He came home with this –
A live basil (it had more leaves at the time). Costs more; Has less. Instead of basil in the BIG container I have expected. Good news is that this plant is still alive, has new leaves, and is about ready to be planted in a pot and join his other herby friends (unlike his cut and boxed siblings). So, buy a fresh living herb. We’re gonna have enough for a second batch of pesto soon for the same price!
Back to that day.
Since I had less basil than I had originally planned for – it’s always the men’s fault, right girls?! – I had to opt for plan B: Less basil, more nuts!
Turned out beautifully. Even better than what I usually make (more basil and less nuts).
From that time on, this is how I make basil-based pesto. With lots of walnuts.
But you? You can do whatever you want.
Do you like garlic? Make a Basil-garlic pesto or a Garlic-basil pesto. Use cilantro. See if I care.
For a basic approach to pesto I recommend Ina Garten’s recipes as a general guideline minus a few garlic cloves… (click here to see it) unless you are nuts for garlic, that is.
Have I confused you?
Am I messing up with your minds?
I hope not.
And if I did, I deeply apologize.
Just, just, do your “thing”.
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 to 1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted in a 350 F oven
2-3 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Put the garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it’s finely chopped. Add the walnuts and pulse again to roughly crush them. Add the basil, salt, pepper, and Parmesan. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube and process until the pesto is pureed. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days or frozen, topped with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent it from blackening.