Author Topic: My Basil Pesto Recipe  (Read 949 times)

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Offline DrG

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My Basil Pesto Recipe
« on: August 18, 2021, 08:10:01 pm »
It looks like this is my 1000th post - I don't know how that could be as it seems like I only started posting a few weeks ago :) Oh well, I better try to make this one count.



I made this today and I can honestly say that it tastes fantastic. In fact, I have never made it when it did not turn out well, as long as I used the right ingredients. Of course you can and should do it your way if so inclined, but this is my way.

You need (no substitutes):
•   Fresh, home grown, sweet basil.
•   Good quality fresh garlic.
•   Pure Italian olive oil (extra virgin).
•   Pine nuts.
•   Parmigiano-Reggiano.

The Basil: There are many varieties and I mean this kind which is typically called sweet basil https://images.saymedia-content.com/.image/t_share/MTc0MTg5MTMzNzM0ODgwNzY0/how-to-care-for-sweet-basil-plant.jpg (from https://dengarden.com/gardening/How-to-Care-for-Sweet-Basil-Plant).

Wash the basil after you pick it and, if at all possible, remove the stems. If you think I am being extra fancy, taste a leaf and taste a stem. This is a good chore for an assistant. Also, I prefer the smaller leaf plants and have been growing the same line for years. How much basil you use is a matter of taste. Of course, it is a dominant ingredient, but fresh, good quality basil is strong and I strive for a balance.



Add the cleaned basil into a food processor (I use a small and cheap one designed to chop nuts) and add a small amount of olive oil. You will be adding and blending more so don’t worry about the consistency at this point

The Garlic: A key here is to use a combination of baked garlic and fresh garlic. I use four parts baked to one part fresh.

Baking garlic makes it mild and creamy. A great flavor and texture for pesto, but you still need to add some fresh garlic for the bite.

You don’t need any fancy preparation to bake garlic; you don’t even need to bake a whole head. Take the number of unpeeled cloves that you need and put them in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. The result will be easy to peel (remove the stalk nub) and very soft - almost a paste.



Add it to the mixture with the fresh garlic (remember, 4:1 baked:fresh) and blend some more. Maybe add some more olive oil in this step.

The Parmigiano-Reggiano: Again, no substitutes. This is one of the finest cheeses in the world and it would be an abomination to use some plastic shaker cheese-like substance. Grate it fine and add it to the mixture.



Note that you might need less Reggiano than you think as a small amount goes a long way. Also, this is where the salt for the pesto will come from; you do not need to add any salt.

After you add the cheese and blend, do a taste test. This is the best point to make adjustments adding oil or any additional amounts of the other ingredients used so far.

The Pine Nuts: Always add these last. You can use a healthy amount. Blend. You do not want these to be fine ground as with the other ingredients because, in addition to a wonderful taste, they will add some texture.

This is what the final pesto should look like.



How you use it is up to you. A little goes a long way and, of course, it makes a fine sauce with some fancy pasta. On the other hand, I love just spreading it on some good bread.


« Last Edit: August 18, 2021, 08:27:31 pm by DrG »
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