Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Frolicking Night Owl's Pesto

It's hot here. 

Very hot! 

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.

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1 comment:

Robyn said...

I love home-made pesto. I, like you, have looked at recipes and then just do my own thing (a bit of this and that). I generally do almonds now, but walnuts are good too. My method is a bit simpler. I don't toast my nuts, and I don't blanch my basil: just put it all in as is, and it's always turned out well. On a hot day, even turning the oven on to toast the nuts, and boiling water isn't much fun. If you wanted to toast the nuts but didn't want the oven on, you could dry fry the nuts in a small frying pan.


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