It's hot here.
Excessive heat warning kind-of-hot!!
No one wants to make lots of hot food in this kind of heat, so we have to get a little creative. Sandwiches & paninis are a great way to beat the heat & we recently enjoyed our's with a green salad & a fresh fruit salad.
Ciabatta Rolls ... fresh mozzarella .... sliced tomatoes ... chopped olives ... fresh pesto
I looked at a lot of recipes for homemade pesto and after I had some ideas, I made up my own recipe as I went along. I want to record what I did for future reference and if you have any comments or something to add, I'd love to hear!
1. Preheat oven to 350* F. Evenly spread about a 1/2 cup of nuts out on a baking sheet. (I used walnut pieces.) Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until nuts look and smell toasty. I saw recipes that used pine nuts, walnuts, or almonds ... use whatever you like.
2. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil. Wash a bunch of fresh basil (I used 2.3 oz to be exact). Dunk the basil into the boiling water and use the back of a wooden spoon to submerge all the basil leaves. Don't leave the basil in the boiling water for more than 5-10 seconds. Quickly drain the basil leaves, rinse them with cold water (if you can find some in AZ), and then pat-dry the leaves with paper towels.
3. I then put the basil, toasted nuts, some coarse salt, a little fresh ground pepper, 2 garlic, and some freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (I just dumped some in but I would guess that I used 2-3 Tablespoons of cheese) into my handy-dandy food processor and pulsed until everything was combined, chopped, and was beginning to look like pesto.
4. With the food processor running, add a scant 1/2 C of extra-virgin olive oil.
5. Serve immediately. I used mine as a spread on my sandwiches.
I would guess I ended up with about a cup worth of pesto. It was enough for sandwiches one night and then we has some with garlic bread and ravioli the next night ... and I still have a little left.
*Tip: If you want to try a sandwich similar to what I made, don't do the ciabatto roll. It got too hard and crusty in the panini press. I think some slices of ciabatta bread will work much better.