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…