Monday, August 26, 2013

Homemade Pesto

Confession: I've never been a huge fan of pesto.  I'm not sure why--maybe I just never had the good stuff.  But over time I've started having bits of it, spread on a wrap or maybe a fancy bruschetta.  And then we were faced with a huge bunch of basil in our CSA box a few weeks ago and Dave really wanted pesto.  (PS: I had no idea he liked pesto so much.)  So knowing what to do with basil was one thing, but what to do with the pesto?  Well, I figured that out and in doing so learned that this pesto is good enough for dipping crusty bread (aka: eating with a spoon) and loads of other fun things.  The flavors are fresh and bright (it helps that I used pesto that was freshly picked), with garlic and a nuttiness from the walnuts I used.  I'm glad Dave actually had an idea because this pesto is delicious, super simple (I made two batches) and incredibly versatile.

Upon deciding that pesto was the way to go, I started looking for a recipe, landing on one from Michelle, a favorite of mine, at Brown Eyed Baker.  Michelle convinced me that I didn't need to head out and spend a fortune on pine nuts--walnuts would work just fine.  I did "splurge" on fresh grated Parmesan, but only because I already had a hunk in the fridge and was looking for a way to use it. And the simplicity!  Just some fresh basil, nuts, cheese, garlic and olive oil whirled together in a food processor and a you're just moments away from a fresh and delightful flavor for dinner.  Amazing. And it's quite possible that making it fresh for myself is exactly the kind of convincing I needed to realize how delicious pesto can be.

Homemade Pesto


2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1/3 cup walnuts
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Rinse basil leaves and pat dry.  Coarsely chop walnuts and mince garlic.  Place basil, nuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times.

Turn on the processor and with the blade running, drizzle in olive oil until consistency is smooth.

Transfer pesto to a bowl and stir in cheese until incorporated.

Use immediately or store in an airtight container, refrigerated.  You can also freeze pesto in individual portions for later use.

Makes 1 to 1 1/2 cups pesto.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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