Have Basil, Make Pesto (pesto and dip recipes)

I might as well confess it: my garden is giving me bupkiss this year.  The plants are spindly, the cukes are shrivelled, the tomatoes are few and far between, and I got about 15 green beans total, enough for one batch of potato salad.  The eggplants seem to be doing nicely, and eventually I might get some zucchini, but even that’s looking kinda sad…

On the other hand, my herbs are doing beautifully.  I have a nice healthy rosemary plant on the patio, and my basil is kicking butt.  Serious butt.  So I finally made pesto.  Checked out a bunch of recipes and in the end, as usual, sort of made up my own.

Now, just to give the disclaimer: I was not trying to make a lowfat or particularly healthy pesto here.  I figure, hell, pesto’s one of those things you use maybe a teaspoon or two at a time, so why not make it count, in all its flavory and textury niceness? Why skimp on the olive oil? Or parmesan?

So, here it is:

Easy Basil Pesto

Add the following to a food processor, pulsing after each addition:

  • 3-4 cloves garlic.  If you really really love garlic, maybe make it 5.  If you get too crazy and make it more like 6 or 7, because you think you love garlic so much that it’ll be awesome, be aware that your result will be better titled “Garlic Basil Pesto.” Don’t ask how I know this. (It’s still awesome, though.) Pulse till basically ground/almost pureed.
  • 2 cups basil leaves. (To measure, pack the leaves down pretty well in the cup.  It takes a lot of basil leaves to make two cups packed.) Pulse again till kinda pureed. (From here on out there’s very little grinding; don’t figure on chopping the basil more later…)
  • While pulsing, dribble in half a cup of olive oil.
  • 1/2 tsp salt; 1/4-1/2 tsp ground black pepper; 2 tbs. lemon juice. Pulse to mix in
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese; 1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts or walnuts.   Pulse till you like the texture. (If you like more chunky pesto, only go a few times; if you like it smooth, obviously grind till it’s smooth. Seriously, maybe a couple of seconds might be enough.)

That’s it. Easy as pie. (A hell of a lot easier, actually. Pie is a pain in the tail, IMO.) This recipe makes a little over a cup of pesto, which goes a long way; I froze it in half cup containers to thaw as needed.

The secondary recipe:

Pesto Yogurt Dip

This is exactly what it sounds like: mix maybe 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt with a couple of tablespoons pesto (to taste). Delicious for dipping veggies or crackers or whatever.  And  lot healthier than most other dip recipes you’re gonna fine.

It’s not a bushel of tomatoes to can and make sauce from, but as the fruits of the garden go, it’s something…

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Posted on July 29, 2010, in recipe and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. My only addition is: OLIVE OIL. 🙂 We don’t use salt, either. Pesto atop fresh mozzarella and tomato slices, drizzled with olive oil….MMMMMMMMMM. I could eat ’em all day.

  2. Oh, CRAP! I left the olive oil out of the recipe! See where my brain is these days…I went back and edited it in. Yes, EVOO is essential, the greener and more olive-y the better!

  3. Basil is my all time favorite Herb. I made pesto this week and have really been enjoying it.
    I will have to try the Pesto Yogurt Dip…I love dips made with plain yogurt. They are so much healthier for you.

  4. I know! I admit, I love to just sit and munch, and when I can “sit and munch” over carrot sticks and a pesto dip made with nonfat yogurt (okay, yeah, there’s all that olive oil and cheese and stuff, but it doesn’t take much pesto!), that’s like heaven.

    It’s also my “go to” potluck dip.

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