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Sunday, 17 October 2010

From Sctach - Home Made Italian Basil Pesto

Makes 3/4 cup pesto
Basil Pesto can be made into a thick paste or
a thin sauce for dpping depepnding the amount of oil you use
This spring bright green sauce is wonderful with Pasta. It is great as a base to pizzas instead of the Tomato sauce, especially if topped with grilled chicken strips, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese. This makes for an amazing green pizza, full packed with freshness and great flavours - a change from the regular tomato sauce-based pizzas. Pesto is also great as a snack with some cherry tomatoes, roasted or fresh. Try it with rice cakes for an extra healthy snack. Pesto can also be used as dip for cocktail parties, with olive, cherry tomatoes and baby buffalo mozzarella rounds.... This sauce is also good with grilled meats as well as a dressing for some salads... There is really no limit to what you can do with Pesto.

Fresh Basil
Contrary to common belief, Pesto is not hard to make at all, it is in fact on of the simplest things. It does not require Chef status to master! so go on and get your jars ready. This recipe will make enough to chill or freeze for another time. Instructions for canning are also included here :)

You Need
1/4 cup Extra Virging Olive Oil
1/2 cup toasted Pine nuts
2 cups firmly packed fresh Basil Leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
3 cloves garlic, crushed
pinch salt
black pepper

In a food processor, combine oil, nuts, basil, cheese, garlic, and salt. Cover and process till almost smooth. Scrape thesides and process one more time to make sure no big chunks remain. Add black pepper to taste.

Image from the purple foodie . com / Pesto Jar
Canning Pesto
If you are not using Pesto immediately, and for long time storage, you need to sterilize your jars. Boil 3 small airtight jars and covers to sterilize them. Pour the Pesto inside the sterilized jars, top the pesto with Olive oil so non of it is exposed to air. Close the lid tightly. You can now store your jars in the fridge or even freeze them.

These jars are a good idea for small home-made gifts to give to your friends, neighbours, hosts...etc. Just top the cover with a nice cloth and tie with a nice ribbon. Pesto is a gift from the kitchen that is always appreciated.

For Simple Pesto Pasta Dish
Cook 180g Pasta like spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine according to package instructions. Toss with 1/4 cup Pesto. Top with roasted cherry tomatoe halves and grated parmesan cheese, you can also top with grilled chicken strips. Serve warm.

Hope I inspired you to start making your own pesto instead of only buying store bought ones. Making your own is so good and you can make sure to add that extra bit of cheese and black pepper! Yum..
Don't forget to leave me a comment and let me know what you think....