Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Perfect Pesto

I had 2 bunches of basil leftover from pastapalooza and I wasn't about to see my money go down the drain. I got this awesome canning mag from Meijer's early this summer to which I owe the credit for my delicious canning adventures to and I've been drooling over the pesto recipes for a couple months. I never have good luck growing basil. I can do thyme, oregano, mint....all the ones that grow like weeds, but the perfection of basil escapes me. My cousin's little crop was beautiful....the bubbly green leaves were healthy and sprouting all over the sides of her planter. Alas, I buy mine.
My first pesto experience was when I was 16. I was head over heels in love with a boy who bagged groceries at our local market. He had the most beautiful brown eyes and we made out for hours in his blue ford tempo with Soundgarden and Stone Temple Pilots droning on in the background, occasionally looking out the fogged up windsheild at the stars. I thought for sure that he was going to be it. He invited me home to his family's house for dinner and his mother made a big pile of fettucini with pesto on the side. It looked delicious, the vibrant, green paste lay thick on the noodles. I was running my buns off with the Cross Country team so I was starving, not to mention, with all that making out, what teenager isn't starving? So I loaded my plate high and took a bite. I thought it tasted nasty. They had cloth napkins so there was no way to get rid of the evidence. They had a huge family and it would definitely be rude not to eat what I had taken. So I swallowed as much as I could bear and still left a considerable amount on my plate. I was so embarrassed!
As an adult, your tastes change. Things you didn't use to like take on new and different levels of flavor, depth, texture and while they may evoke memories from long ago, new memories begin to take over. I'm glad I love pesto now! Drizzled on garlic bread, goat cheese tarts, fresh tomatoes from my garden with fresh buffalo motzarella, bruschetta, pizzas.....I digress. So simple a baboon could make it. But my only qualm for this was when did pine nuts get so expensive? I paid around $10 for 3/4 cup at a particular market in BC. I feel like I got a good 2 cup container way back at Nino Salvaggios for much less. Courtney got a 10 oz pkg at Trader Joe for around 8 bucks so I felt ripped off. Whatever, you forget all about that after you taste it.
3 cups basil leaves
2/3 cup parmiggiano reggiano
2/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 cloves of garlic
Throw all the ingredients except the olive oil on the bowl of your food processor and drizzle olive oil down the chute and pulse till it resembles a green gunge. Will keep in the fridge for 2 days otherwise freeze it. Its cool if you you an ice cube tray, pesto ice cubes could really perk up a winter soup.

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