Monday, May 18, 2009

Presto Pesto

Italy has provided the world with many cultural and culinary innovations — aqueducts, gelato, Michelangelo's David, lattes, umbrellas (seriously, they were invented in ancient Rome, look it up) — but I would argue that one of the country's finest accomplishments is pesto. A combination of seemingly simple ingredients, the sum of its parts is truly greater than the parts.
Pesto is one of those miracle foods that can be used a million ways and pretty much makes anything taste better. For those who play by the book, it obviously makes a stellar pasta sauce, but use your imagination a bit, and it can be eaten as a sandwich spread, a salad dressing, a pizza sauce, on scrambled eggs, on bruschetta, as a dipping sauce for bread or crudite or a zesty topping on steak, fish, or lamb. Saucy!

You will need:
About 4oz (or like, 2 cups) basil, with the stems removed.
2/3 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese — get the good stuff.
1/2 cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic (just don't plan on kissing anyone right after you eat this. Or just feed it to the person you intend to kiss, too).
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil — again, it's worth is to splurge for great ingredients.

What you do:
Put the cheese, pine nuts and garlic in the blender or food processor and blend until ground up and consistent. Add the oil and the basil, and blend until creamy and, well, pesto-y.
Store in a jar in the fridge. If you won't eat it all within a week or so, freeze extra pesto in an ice-cube tray. Defrost individual cubes, as needed, for a quick dinner-fabulizer any time.


mia said...

ha ha, remember when we made pesto at my mom's one summer a million years ago, and didn't think to turn off the blender before sticking the wooden spoon in...I think the extra fiber really made that dish!

Lily said...

Ha! I think I got a splinter in my tongue that night. Yum.