Labor day has passed and, with it, the accepted, if not astrological, end of summer. So, to commemorate all that beautiful summer bounty we were blessed with the past three months, I decided to make a Pesto. Pesto is very popular in the blogosphere during the summer. It is probably one of the easiest pasta sauces and perfect for summer for several reasons. First of all, it relies on an herb (usually Basil) as its main ingredient. For the Pesto to be superb, the Basil must be as well. And, although Pesto is traditionally made in a mortar and pestle, I made mine in the food processor, which meant I didn't heat up the kitchen except to boil water for the Pasta. Of course, Pesto is also wonderful served cold.
Because this was my first time making Pesto (shocking, I know, especially since we're such big pasta eaters), I made a pretty basic one, using my book Garlic, Garlic, Garlic for inspiration. I only made a couple of changes, must notably using fresh Garlic instead of dried. Some people have found raw garlic too strong i pesto and I found the fresh garlic to be a perfect alternative. I also substituted Walnuts for the more common Pine Nuts.
3 cups Basil Leaves
1 cup Italian Parsley
8 cloves Fresh Garlic
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, coarsely grated
4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
Black Pepper, about 8 grinds
pinch dried Oregano
Fleur de Sel, about 4 pinches
1/2 cup Walnuts
2/3 cup good-quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Combine Basil, Parsley, Garlic, Cheese, Butter, Pepper, Oregano and Fleur de Sel in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and pasty (pulsing gives you more control). Add Walnuts, broken in half, and pulse/chop until all walnut pieces are of a consistent size. Dribble in Oil, keeping the food processor running the whole time. Scrape sides and blend again until the mixture looks/feels like pesto (thick and rather creamy).
Add to pasta, grilled chicken, grilled fish--whatever you want!
Food and Cooking and Recipe and Pesto and Summer and Vegetarian and Dairy