Pesto

Pesto: God’s gift to mankind.

True story: I once googled who invented pesto because I legitimately wanted to thank them [but probably an ancestor] for bringing this into our lives.  Turns out no one knows, but the ancient Romans came up with the general concept and the idea of using basil as the main ingredient came from North Africa.  Go figure.

Long story short I need to go to Italy and North Africa.  Again.

No two pesto recipes are alike, but most all are delicious.  So long as you have a food processor- you can make it.  What you choose to add in and take out is completely up to you but I find that having a base recipe is always helpful.  I’m no pesto-making expert but in the two times I’ve made pesto I was quite pleased with the turn-out.

My most recent batch was pretty traditional, but the first time I chose to add in toasted walnuts for the traditional pine nuts and to add in sun-dried tomatoes mainly because I had half a container left and was running out of ideas to use them for.

My dearest mother planted me two pots of herbs before I moved to Philly [super awesome, no?] and one of them was completely basil.  Red basil, dwarf basil, thai basil and regular basil.  Genius.

Now, for the recipe:

3 cups basil, packed

3 cups arugula, packed

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

~1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Blend everything together in a food processor until smooth.  Use within one week or freeze.  I like to make one-meal portions by putting the pesto into an ice cube tray, freezing them, and melting a cube into warm pasta.

In this recipe I used both red and traditional basil because I didn’t want to completely wipe out one plant in order to get 3 cups of basil.  If you’re not an arugula person- use 6 cups of basil instead.  Also feel free to use any cheese of your choice.  I used asiago in my first batch and traditionally you would use parmesan.  I just happen to really like Parmigiano Reggiano.  If you want to add in pine nuts [or walnuts] for this recipe about 1/2 cup [toasted] would be good.  I just didn’t have any.

Don’t stress friends.  Whatever ingredients you choose to use- it will turn out beautifully.  Swear.

To end, a picture of Stella.  Now you know the cute look I have to face when I’m trying to scold her for chewing up my Rainbows.  “Who me??”

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