Monday, November 5, 2012

Parsley and Basil Pesto


A simple and quick pasta dish made with basil and parsley.

Store bought pesto can be pretty expensive.  Most of the ingredients are usually expensive as well. However, basil and parsley are easy to grow, all they need is full sunlight and regular water. I have both growing in relatively small containers, and as long as I trim them carefully they continue to grow. They make great additions to many meals.

Another expensive ingredient, and more difficult to find, are pine nuts. Good news is that you don't have to use them, pecans can be used instead. Pecans won't give the same flavor, obviously, but they make a pretty good pesto. You can also use pistachios and probably other nuts, just be creative.

If you have all the ingredients on hand, pesto pasta is a quick, fresh, and tasty meal.

1 cup basil and parsley, chopped (any combination)
3 cloves garlic
1 small handful pecans
1/2 cup olive oil

While waiting for a large pot of water to boil (for the pasta) combine basil, parsley, garlic, and pecans is the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse to chop them and then leave the chopper on while you pour olive oil slowly into the mixture. You are looking for a creamy mixture. Stir in the parmesan at the end. Boil 4 servings of pasta, drain, then toss with the pesto. Can be served with bread or veggies, or on it's own.

This was a great quick meal that required no planning. The garlic flavor is very strong (because it is raw). If you don't like that, use less, or try tossing the whole garlic cloves into the boiling water to blanch for a few seconds before blending with the pesto. The great thing about this recipe is that it is easily modified to your individual tastes and what you have on hand.  For example, pesto is usually made with sweet basil, but since I didn't have any, and plenty of Thai basil, I used the Thai basil.  Thai basil is similar in flavor, but not quite the same, and it made a tasty pesto. Enjoy.

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