Mandee’s Favorite Pesto Recipe
There are a several different ways that you can make pesto sauce, but recently a generous friend showed me the most efficient and delicious way to prepare it.
With the cold snap approaching last week, I didn't want the plants to go to waste, so the boyfriend and I harvested all of our basil plants, with plans to make pesto and freeze it.
We have been growing basil plants for a couple of years outside the house, and in the process I have made a few poor attempts at making pesto sauce, so I enlisted my good friend, Carleen, who is a whiz in the kitchen, especially with pasta and sauces, to teach me. She showed me the proper steps, and ways to make it awesome.
So last week, the boyfriend and I cut down the basil plants, and made pesto with this recipe. Remember we had a lot of basil, but instead of trying to make it all at once we decided to use about four cups of basil at time, the most our food processor would allow.
Ingredients and tools:
Food processor, spatula, salt, pepper
4 cups basil
1 cup parmesan cheese
2/3 cup pine nuts (toasted)
5 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Yields: 2 cups of sauce
While he was tearing all of the basil leaves off the plant into a big bowl, I was busy preparing the garlic.
Carleen had recently shown me how to take the garlic bulb apart, peel away the outside layers of the clove and then to take the knife blade on it's side and smash the clove to release more flavor. Once smashed the five cloves of garlic I needed, I diced them up and set them aside.
We also knew that we were going to need quite a bit of cheese. So once garlic was ready to go, I began grating the parmesan cheese. We needed about a cup of cheese for the four cups of basil that we were working with.
Once I had the basil, garlic and cheese prepped I could focus on toasting the pine nuts. I scattered 2/3 cup of pine nuts evenly across the bottom of a pan on medium heat and began toasting them, tossing them as I watched them turn from pale to dark.
When all of my ingredients were prepped, I was ready to start working with the food processor. One of the important tips that Carleen gave me was to add the dry ingredients first. So I put the basil in alone, and pulsed the food processor to cut it up alone.
Next, I added in the pine nuts and repeated the pulsing processes. After, I felt like it was well combined, I added in the garlic and pulsed again. I also added a small amount, about a teaspoon of salt, and a dash of black pepper, before adding in the parmesan cheese.
Once the dry ingredients were all mixed well, I turned the food processor on low and began drizzling in extra virgin olive oil slowly. I would watch the side of the food processor to check the consistency of the sauce, and as it combined into a paste, I would drizzle in a little more, until I had used about a cup.
During this stage, it's a good idea have a flexible spatula on hand. I had to scrape the sauce back down into the processor bowl as it started to climb the edges.
Once it was complete, we removed the pesto sauce from the food processor and stored it in food saver packing. Pesto will turn brown quickly if it is exposed to air.
We also, set aside enough sauce that nigh to combine with penne pasta, and rewarded ourselves with a delicious meal.