Another first — I made homemade pesto last night!…and I mean the real deal, not a Knorr packet or some other such substitution with things in it that I struggle to pronounce. (Don't get me wrong — I've made my share of packet pesto. This beats its socks off!) Nope, this is a relatively quick recipe that I got off a box of Ball jars….that I had to slightly modify because their instructions resulted in black smoke billowing out of my oven! Forgive me, I get ahead of myself.
- 1 cup pine nuts
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves fresh garlic crushed (about 2 tsp if you use the fresh minced garlic)
- 1 cup grated (not shredded) parmesan cheese
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Now, Ball said to toast your pine nuts in a 450 degree oven til golden brown. NOT a positive experience for me!!! I put them in, went to deal with children and came back to black smoke billowing out of my oven. Really. It was hazy in the house for the rest of the day…and I think I smelled like pine nut ash. The pine nuts were so charred they looked like coffee beans…and smelled a bit like them as well. I kid you not. ANYWAY, being an expensive mistake I determined not to duplicate, I toasted the next cup of pine nuts in two batches…in a skillet…on the stovetop…on medium heat.
- When cool, combine the pine nuts, basil and garlic in the food processor and "process til smooth." (I think next time I'll put the basil on the bottom, then the pine nuts and garlic and see if that doesn't make it a bit quicker to process.)
- Add the parmesan and process til combined.
- Start the food processor and add the olive oil in a slow, even stream. Honestly, this feels like it takes forever…and ever…and ever. All the while I was wondering how loudly Little Bit was going to be screaming once I was finished because I had NO IDEA it was going to take that long. It was probably only a minute…two at most, but a food processor going for a minute or two? It can bore a hole in your brain!
- And you're finished!
- I did put a cup of pesto in a half-pint freezer jar and top with olive oil. It's been popped into the freezer so that we can enjoy a bit of summer in the dead of winter!
I thinly sliced some chicken breast and cooked it up with some evoo and salt & pepper while the pasta water was coming to a boil. I cooked up some spaghetti (next time I'll use angel hair), and when it was cooked al dente, I added it to the skillet with the chicken, threw in about half a cup of pesto and "tossed" it together. It was ridiculously yummy! I made a caprese salad to go along with it. The only thing that would have made it better would have been homemade french bread. Oh yes.
When I had the leftovers for lunch today, I added in quartered cherry and grape tomatoes. That sent it over the top…and it made it look a little Christmas-y! Christmas in June? I think I can live with that!
I know there are scads of other pesto recipes out there — if you have a favorite, do share! I LOVE new recipes!