Saturday, February 9, 2013

DIY: Pesto (Nut free)

Ok, so we are on our way to making the bruschetta, but I still have a few more things to make.  The next item is pesto, for the Pesto and Salami Bruschetta.  I absolutely love making pesto, it is a quick and easy favorite for summer, and can be whipped up and thrown on some pasta for an easy meal.  In this case it is the base of a very simple bruschetta.

Gather olive oil, Parmesan cheese, basil, garlic, and lemon 
I like my pesto super garlicky, so if you only like garlic a normal amount you might want to tone it down.  If you are the kind of person that looks at a recipe that calls for one clove of garlic  scoffs, and then uses 5 cloves, this is the recipe for you  (remember that since this is not cooked, the garlic flavor is very strong).  Also, most pestos use nuts, such as pine nuts or walnuts.  I don't include those because I don't really like them and I don't find them necessary.  I add a tablespoon of lemon juice both for flavor and to preserve the bright green color.  I notice that if I don't use lemon, the pesto starts oxidizing very quickly, and turns a less pleasant color.

Basic Pesto

2-3 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1-3 cloves of garlic (one for garlic normals, 3 for garlic lovers)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

I like to grind my parm right in the food processor, so cut it into chunks and then pulse in food processor until it is a crumbly consistency   Add garlic cloves and pulse until combined.  Add fresh basil, then while food processor is running, stream the olive oil through the top feed until you reach your desired consistency (for me that was about half a cup, but you may need to add more or less depending on your preferences and how much basil you have).   Add lemon juice and pulse to combine.  Then add salt to taste.

The lemon juice is really great at maintaining that bright green color.  I also stored it in a mason jar, so the airtight environment might have helped preserve that as well.  I have had this in my fridge for a few days now and it is still a beautiful green color.

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