Basil Pesto
Read Herbology 101

I love pesto! It has so many uses. Try it on bruschetta, pasta, pizza, vegetables, or use it to top a soup.

Using a mortar and pestle makes a big difference in flavor. I did a side by side test of a pesto made in a food processor and one made with a mortar and pestle. The mortar and pestle pesto had a much brighter, fuller flavor. The one from the food processor tasted good, but the flavors didn't mesh or hold up as well.

Click for Sierra's Pesto


Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add walnuts and toast stirring occasionally until fragrant.  Set aside. 

Rinse and pat bail leaves dry.

 

Measure the olive oil and basil leaves.

Peel garlic then crush with a mortar and pestle until it makes a paste. 

Working in (1)batches add basil leaves and crush with mortar and pestle.

Bruise leaves completely. 

Transfer to a food processor or cup of an immersion blender. 

Add toasted walnuts and oil. 

Process until fairly smooth.  Add the parmesan, salt, and pepper and process again. 

Stir in the mascarpone or ricotta.  Use or store.

For Storage:
Transfer to a an airtight storage container.  Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pesto to keep it from browning. 

Secure a lid on the container and refrigerate up to one week.


Problems

Flavor- to bring out the best flavor use a mortar and pestle. I got mine for $13 at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Color- pesto browns easily. Covering it with plastic wrap directly on top slows the browning. You could also cover it in a thin layer of olive oil to keep the color.

Nuts- Be careful not to leave the nuts unattended while roasting them. They go from not cooked to burned pretty quickly.


Pesto

¼ c walnuts

2 c (3 oz) fresh basil leaves packed
4 medium cloves garlic

½ c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c fresh parmesan
¼ t kosher salt
¼ t fresh ground black pepper

¼ c mascarpone or ricotta (optional)

1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add walnuts and toast stirring occasionally until fragrant.  Set aside. 

2. Rinse and pat basil leaves dry. Peel garlic then crush with a mortar and pestle until it makes a paste. Working in batches add basil leaves and crush with mortar and pestle to bruise leaves completely.  Transfer to a food processor or cup of an immersion blender.  Add toasted walnuts and oil. 

3. Process until fairly smooth.  Add the parmesan, salt, and pepper and process again.  Stir in the mascarpone or ricotta.  Use or store.

For Storage:
Transfer to a an airtight storage container.  Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pesto to keep it from browning.  Secure a lid on the container and refrigerate up to one week.

Notes
1. If you don't have a mortar and pestle place the garlic and basil leaves in a plastic bag. Crush the garlic clove and bruise the basil leaves well.
2. If you have a large mortar and pestle you can crush them all at once, but most mortar and pestles aren't large enough for this.



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