Flavor of the Month

Basil in Pesto

Pesto is one of my favorite condiments. I like to toss it with pasta, spread it on a sandwich, or even place a dollop on my eggs. The thing is, its hard to find a good pesto recipe. I always found pesto to be either too oily or too textured. Pesto should be herby, creamy, and most important emulsified.  I like this recipe because it is a basic pesto with the addition of avocado. The avocado adds creaminess and works as a binder to keep the emulsification in tact. 

Here is the Recipe for Perfect Basil Pesto:

Ingredients                                                                                                    Makes about 1 cup

6 cups gently packed basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 to 2 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt                                                                                                                                             1/2 cup smashed avocado
1/4 – 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

Equipment

Blender or food processor

Instructions

  1. Blend half the basil with the nuts, cheese, and garlic: Combine half of the basil with the nuts, cheese, garlic, avocado and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend continuously until the ingredients are finely chopped.
  2. Blend in the rest of the basil: Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the rest of the basil. Blend until a uniform paste has formed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Stream in the olive oil: With the blender running, stream in the olive oil. Less olive oil will make a paste good for spreading on sandwiches and pizzas; more will make a sauce better for pastas and stirring into soup. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue blending as needed until the olive oil is emulsified into the basil and the pesto looks uniform.
  4. Taste and adjust: Taste the pesto and add more salt, garlic, nuts, or cheese as needed to taste.
  5. Store your pesto: Pesto will darken and brown very quickly, but will still be tasty and fresh for several days. For best appearance, use it right away. If storing, store it in the smallest container possible and thoroughly press the pesto to eliminate air pockets. Pour a little olive oil over the surface, cover, and refrigerate for up to a week. Pesto can also be frozen for several months

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Here is a few ways to enjoy pesto:

  1. Put on grilled cheese and serve with tomato soup
  2. Put on Bruschetta
  3. Mix some kale pesto into quinoa with cherry tomatoes, scallions, diced red onions, red bell pepper, and drained chick peas for power packed meal
  4. Mix into mac and cheese
  5. Stir into chicken soup
  6. Smear cilantro pesto on a chicken quesadilla
  7. Use instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich 
  8.  Obviously toss with any pasta and top with parmesan cheese, YUM!
  9. Mix into scrambled eggs
  10. Toss with roasted vegetables

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Different Combinations

Since this is a #FOTM post, I used basil. Not only is it delicious, but it is one of my favorite herbs. BUT, if you don’t like basil, or want to get creative in the kitchen, just remember this simple formula for pesto.

Veggie, Fruit and/or Herbs + Hard Cheese + Nuts + Olive Oil

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Cilantro Pesto

Cilantro + Cotija Cheese + Almonds + Lime + EVOO

Click here to Get the Recipe

Fresh Corn Pesto

Sweet Corn + Bacon + Parmesan Cheese + Pine Nuts + Basil + EVOO

 

Click here to Get the Recipe

Kale Pesto

Kale + Parmesan Cheese + Walnuts + Basil + EVOO

Click here to Get the Recipe

Beet Pesto

Beets + Romano Cheese + Pistachios + EVOO

Click here to Get the Recipe

Ramp Pesto

Ramps + Parmesan Cheese + Walnuts + Basil + EVOO

Click here to Get the Recipe

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Roasted Red Peppers + Parmesan Cheese + Walnuts + Basil + EVOO

Click here to Get the Recipe

Thyme Pesto

Thyme + Baby Spinach + Parmesan Cheese + Pine Nuts + EVOO

Click here to Get the Recipe

What is your favorite pesto recipe? How do you like to use pesto?

Let me know below!

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