Thursday, December 27, 2012

Basics: Pesto

Pesto. I fell in love with pesto a few months ago. I hadn't tried it before, believe it or not.

 I've been putting pesto with pretty much everything. On pizza, pasta, sandwiches and grilled chicken! My personal favourite is a grilled cheese PESTO sandwich. With the result of Christmas dinners, my kitchen is filled with a ton of leftovers. That means leftover turkey and ham. So what did I do the other day? I made one of the best sandwiches. I spread a spoonful or two of pesto on two slices of bread, put some turkey with cranberry sauce, a bit of ham, sliced tomato, capsicum and portabella mushroom. And of course, cheese! It was a huge sandwich, since I didn't cut everything thinly, but it was the best sandwich I ever had. Pesto makes life better if you ask me!

I made this a while ago. I used more of a spinach to basil ratio. 
My sisters think I'm being fancy schmancy and 'gourmet' with concocting some pesto sauce, but it really isn't that gourmet at all. In order to make it,  it does not require one to have culinary school training. It's just, I read food blogs, and I get inspiration. Plus, how could I resist the look of some green sauce? I love my greens.

Pesto is too easy. You can buy a jar of it in the supermarket aisle, but I bet you, it won't taste nearly as good as the home-made ones. There are so many additives that make these kinds of products have a longer shelf-life. So why not make some fresh pesto? 

Basil and spinach pesto
Slightly adapted from Taste

1 cup firmly-packed basil leaves
1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
60 g parmesan cheese
Squeeze of lemon juice

1. Put the basil and spinach leaves with some garlic in the food processor. Combine until smooth, and then add the pine nuts.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients (extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese and lemon juice) and process until smooth.
3. Season with salt and pepper if desired. 

* You can substitute the greens however you like. You could do 1 and a half cups of basil altogether, or combine it with spinach or parsley. The original recipe calls for 1 and a half cups of basil, but I decided to put in some spinach as well. 
* You can replace pine nuts with almonds 

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