Pesto

There are so many varieties to this gorgeous idea of herbs and olive oil blended and tossed over pasta. Parsley . . . Cilantro . . . Rosemary . . . I even whip up a batch of Balsamic-Lemon Spinach Pesto that’s really delightful! But truly, my favorite variety is the traditional one.
Basil.
The earthy sweetness. Crisp and almost acidic, but not quite. Green like fresh grass. It’s hard to find a meal I enjoy more than one that includes fresh pesto. And knowing this about myself, I planted ten basil plants in my garden this year. That’s right. Ten. And I might double that next year. I have no shame.

IMG_1475

My two oldest girls and I cut a bunch, washed them up, and whipped up a lovely batch of pesto this week. I spooned it generously over three-cheese ravioli and fresh grape tomatoes. Sprinkled with parmesan, only a loaf of crusty bread would have made it better. Next time.

IMG_1481

PESTO 
1 large bunch of basil—roughly 2 cups of leaves, washed, and stems removed
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 grated parmesan cheese
1 heaping teaspoon garlic
dash of lemon juice

Pine nuts are traditionally part of a solid pesto recipe, but I’m not a fan, so I left them out. If you like them, roast two tablespoons in a hot sauté pan with a splash of olive oil and salt until they brown. Set aside on paper toweling and allow to cool.

In a food processor, whirl basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and parmesan, scraping down sides of the bowl frequently for about a minute, or until a thick, smooth paste forms.

IMG_1478

Everyone has a different opinion about the thickness of a proper pesto. The beauty of making your own, means you get to decide what that looks like! Feel free to add more olive oil if you prefer your pesto a little thinner.
At this point you would also add the roasted pine nuts if you enjoy them.
Whirl again, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Serve over pasta of your choice, hot or cold.

IMG_1483

To store: divide between small jars and freeze what you intend keep beyond immediate use.
Enjoy!

 

balsamic-lemon spinach pesto

Pesto. That flash of green. That earthy sweetness. Summer encapsulated. I love the stuff. On pasta, eggs, fish, in my coffee . . .
Ha.
Just checking to make sure you’re awake.

I brought two gorgeous basil plants inside from the garden when the weather turned cold. “Surely I can save these!” I thought.
Nope.
I tried.
They died.
There goes pesto.

However, today I whipped up a ‘pesto’ with a base of spinach instead of basil. And yaknow what? It’s almost good enough to drink in your coffee.
Enjoy!

BALSAMIC-LEMON SPINICH PESTO

1452106565066

• Notes:
This recipe is a two-for-one deal. I use my lemon-balsamic dressing in this in place of straight olive oil.

Balsamic-Lemon Salad Dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons balsamic vinaigrette
½ teaspoon fresh pressed garlic

a dash of salt

3 cups of organic baby spinach—washed
2 tablespoons Lemon-Balsamic salad dressing
1 tablespoon roasted pine-nuts

In a food processor or blender, pack the spinach down nice and firm, drizzle the dressing over top and sprinkle in pine nuts. Pulse/whirl a couple of times and then remove the cover and scrape down the sides with a soft spatula. Evaluate the consistency at this point. If the pesto seems a little dry add a little more dressing. Too wet? Add more spinach. Whirl again until smooth. Store in an air-tight container.

1452106644401