July 24, 2013 by Kai Chan
In the past couple of weeks, I received some Genovese basil with my CSA (community supported agriculture) box. Basil is a great herb that you can use to enhance dishes but it’s generally hard for me to use up a whole bushel of them before they start going bad. I like to keep my basil fresh by trimming the stems and keeping them in a glass of water – this extends the life of the basil by quite a lot and you can keep basil up to a couple of weeks via this method. It was only a matter of time before I was going to make pesto with my remaining basil. Contrary to what people may think, pesto is an easy dish to make, especially if you have a food processor. While I generally like making pesto, I hate cleaning up the food processor because of all of its nooks and crannies. However, thank goodness for the invention of the dishwasher. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be caught dead slaving away making this using a mortar – though I must admit, I did make pesto for my brother once chopping away unhappily with my big trusty Global knife… While the traditional Italian pesto has pine nuts and parmesan cheese, I generally like to use walnuts instead of pine nuts. However, since I had neither in my pantry, I opted to try out a different type of pesto using almonds and pecorino cheese.
2 cups basil
3 large garlic cloves
1 cup almonds
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lb Pecorino Romano
Salt & pepper to taste
Yields about 3 cups of pesto.
Wash the basil well and dry off with paper towel.
Put the basil, garlic and almonds into a food processor.
Pulse for 30 seconds until the ingredients are finely chopped. Add the pecorino to the food processor – cut the pecorino into smaller bits so that it will not take as long to pulse it down to a finely chopped consistency. Then run the food processor and slowly add the olive oil to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper – be careful of the salt content because the pesto already has pecorino which is salty.
Use pesto in pasta, salads (dressing or with mozzarella and basil), sandwiches, hors d’oeuvres, salad dressing, spreads or whatever you think fits best!