Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Medium Pesto

Basil plants are so easy to grow and around here they last 9 months of the year. Right now is pesto season, when the leaves grow so fast there not enough time to eat them. Pesto is great to season vegetables, chicken, pizza, pasta, sandwiches or just a dip for bread. Along with a thousand different uses, this little mess of flavor has a thousand different recipes.

For pasta, you want it light, for vegetables you want it heavy. Some like it garlicky and chunky, while others like it spicy and smooth. Maybe it needs to be spread-able, or maybe dip-able. I make mine on the in between mark of all three of these scenarios.

The blender on slow makes it smooth but not too smooth. If I have time to roast some garlic, I add three cloves, but if it is raw, just one. Just enough oil to spread out onto dough, but not so much that it runs off my sandwich. Using half spinach and half basil makes pesto between mild and rich, while keeping the dip/sauce/spread/seasoning greener. Come on by, I have plenty to go around.

1 clove garlic
2 cups fresh spinach
2 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup grated parmesean
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil

Place garlic in blender to break it up into small pieces. Add the rest of the ingredients, blend on low speed, scrapping down as needed. A tamper is very useful in getting all the leaves into the blades.

To store, press plastic onto the surface of the pesto and keep refrigerated up to 5 days.


  1. Sounds yummy, I will be by in 3 weeks for a taste.

  2. yo, good looking cook-- this has nothing to do w/ pesto. but i just wanted to say we had your taco meat tonight (jonathan made it while i was at scouts) and it was delicious. also, i've been meaning to tell you that your new header is pretty awesome.

  3. Where is a good place to buy pine nuts. They are so expensive. Did you buy a basil plant or seeds?-Cindy

  4. I get the big bag at Costco because they are reliable. I have never priced them out, but you need to sniff before you buy. I have opened the bin to buy them at Sprouts three times and they have been rancid everytime.

  5. I grow basil from seed. You can share a packet with 10 friends and still have all the basil you would want. Mine has been reseeding it's self every year and usually doesn't die off over the winter so I have mature plants with new leaves and baby plants that have super tender leaves.

    If I were just getting started now, I would get a plant and some seeds so that you have some for use in the next couple months while the seeds sprout.

  6. Do you have your plants indoors?

  7. No, my plants are outdoors.

  8. Hey -- do you know of a recipe for pesto that doesn't involve pine nuts? I am apparently allergic. But, I love pesto?

  9. Definitely, pine nuts are traditional, but any nut works. I love pesto made with pistachios. Just switch them out cup for cup.

  10. I always make my pesto with walnuts. One time I made a batch with pine nuts and one batch with walnuts and tried to see if there was much of a difference. The only real difference I could detect was that the pine nuts made the pesto slightly creamier. But the flavor was almost identical.


  11. We LOVE this. My hubby can't get enough! It makes a great pizza sauce.

  12. Hey Kara, does this freeze well? Thanks!

  13. Yes! Pesto is a great way to preserve your herbs.

  14. Are you serious??? I can freeze pesto??? How long will it keep?

  15. Absolutely! It will keep in the freezer for 6 months. Once thawed, use within a few days.


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