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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Roasted Garlic Pesto

Remember that wonderful garlic we roasted yesterday? Well kids, today we're gonna use it. And my pathetic basil bush? Yep. We're harvesting all the usable leaves and making some fantastic pesto. Here's what you need:
4 cups fresh basil leaves
3 heads roasted garlic (I know. It sounds like a lot, but you must trust me on this).
1 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup ParmigianoReggiano cheese
3/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper

1. Put the pine nuts in a dry skillet. Turn heat on to medium/low.
2. Do not ignore your nuts. Give them a good shake every minute or so.
3. Use your nose. When they smell nutty and fragrant, they are almost done.
So... That's my head, nose in the pine nut skillet.

4. When pine nuts are toasty brown, remove from heat and let cool. When I have a new bag of pine nuts, I go ahead and toast up the whole bag, using 2 or 3 skillet fulls (can't crowd the pan), then store them in the freezer in a ziplock bag. Nuts will go rancid if not used promptly or stored in the freezer.


O.K. Now it's time to get going on the pesto for real, now that we've given our nuts great flavor.
Place 3 or 4 (did I put in 5?) big chunks of parmigiano Reggiano cheese in the food processor.



Pulse on and off until the cheese is very fine.

Now, throw in half the basil, pine nuts, about a Tbls extra virgin olive oil, and about 10 turns of the pepper mill. Buzz it up. Then throw in the rest of the basil and buzz it up.


After you've buzzed up the above ingredients, it's time to add the olive oil.


What you need to do here is add 1/4 cup  olive oil a slow stream, so that the oil emulsifies into the yummies already in the processor. Our recipe calls for 3/4 cup olive oil. What you should do is taste the pesto after you've added about a half a cup. If it tastes too strong, or is too thick, add more oil.

So, that's exactly what I did. After tasting, my pesto wasn't all that great. So, I added one more head of roasted garlic (for a total of 3), more pine nuts, (for about 1 cup total), and buzzed it up until smooth.

Tasted again. Oh my! Perfection!
But that's just what I like. With this recipe, adulterate to your taste's  preference. If you like more of a garlic "kick" add some fresh minced garlic. For a yummy pasta sauce, add some pesto to some fire roasted, slow roasted, San Marzano, or sun dried tomatoes. Add some chopped roasted red peppers. Top w/ chopped fresh basil and Parmesan or Mozzarrella.
Use this as a base for bruschetta: Take some day old French bread. Slice it. Grill it on a grill pan, dry, until crispy on both sides. Smear it w/pesto. Top w/ finely chopped tomatoes and shredded mozzarrella. Broil until cheese melts.
If you want to freeze pesto, spray muffin cups w/ no-stick spray. Scoop it into muffin tins. Cover w/ plastic wrap and foil. Freeze until solid. Remove pesto discs and place in a ziplock bag. Freeze.
ENJOY!

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About Me

Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
I'm a home cook that can put some good tasting food on the table, most of the time. My family knows dinner is ready when the fire alarm goes off.