Monday, August 4, 2014

Herb Pestos

In the summer, we enjoy lots of fresh herb pestos!  And then I freeze quite a few to continue enjoying all winter.

Basically, a pesto is just fresh herb leaves processed with oil.  To make pesto from mint, that's all I do - process mint leaves with enough olive oil to make a paste, add salt and pepper, and serve.  For basil pesto, I add a few more ingredients.

So what do you do with pesto?  Add to cooked pasta (with meat, olives, roasted red peppers, white beans, and whatever else you think sounds good), mix with mayonnaise for a sandwich spread, mix with chevre for an appetizer spread, use instead of pizza sauce on pizzas, mix with oil and lemon juice or vinegar for a salad dressing, add to ground meat for hamburgers ..... mint pesto is wonderful on lamb burgers!  Here's my recipe for basil pesto.

Basil Pesto

6 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soaked and toasted almond slivers
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper

This is easier with a food processor, but a blender will also work.

Combine 3 cups of the basil leaves with the rest of the ingredients and process until well blended.  Add the remaining basil and process again. 

If you can use Parmesan, you can also add 1/2 cup finely grated (or microplaned).