Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pesto, Pesto, Do Your Very Besto....

I have always wanted to make pesto, even before I knew what it was....just the sound of it sounds.....well, YUM. A few weeks ago my husband rented "House Boat" as an attempt at romance, and that lovely little ditty that Sophia Loren sings...

"Presto presto
Do your very besto
Don't hang back like a shy little kid
You'll be so glad that you did what you did
When you do it with a bing bang bong
A bing bang bong"

...goes through my mind (and sometimes even slips out of my mouth) as I spread my delicious homemade pesto on my bread. Although this is my first attempt at pesto, I don't think there are any hard rules as to what you can or can't put in it. The basics of course; basil, olive oil, and garlic are pretty standard, but I've heard of people leaving out the Parmesan cheese and nuts, and adding just about anything they desire. Mine went something like this:

2 cups fresh basil leaves (I used lemon, regular and cute little unknown kind)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (cheaper substitution for pine nuts)
3-4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil (use the good stuff if you have it)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

I guess the easy way is to processes the basil and oil in the food processor, which I don't have, but my blender worked pretty good. Then add the garlic, nuts, Parmesan and remaining oil. I also read here that you can toast and roast your nuts and garlic for a deeper flavor; I did and it turned out YUM (repetitive, I know).

Warning: Basil has a tendency to turn brown after it is cut up, oxygen being the enemy here. I found that pouring a nice thick layer of olive oil over the top of the pesto before storing it in the fridge helps to keep the lovely green color. I also read, and will try next time, that if you quickly blanch the basil leaves and then immediately immerse them in ice water, it helps to maintain the color.

My favorite way to eat the pesto is to spread it on toast and top with a fresh tomato and a little bit of pepper. I'll admit, Laser Boy is the only one of my kids (husband included) that has even ventured to taste it, so I'll just keep singing my slightly modified Sophia Loren song and maybe one day they won't be so shy and "bing, bang, bong" basil heaven.

1 comment:

  1. I have that song stuck in my head now!!! I'm going to have to pop that disk into the dvd player this weekend!

    We love pesto. I've only made it fresh once. I usually use Classico's jarred pesto. I'll have to try this recipe! Thanks!


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