Our garden is producing plenty of tomatoes for soup, salads and the like, but the basil plants are not doing that well. I managed to eke out 1/2 cup packed basil leaves, and concocted this recipe, which is the best basil pesto I have eaten thus far. Basil pesto is easy to make if you have the fresh basil leaves and other ingredients. I quickly mixed it up, then dropped tablespoonfuls onto plastic wrap that got tucked inside a small freezer container. When I want some pesto, I just have to reach in the container and pull out a packet. It thaws pretty quickly and can be mixed with mashed avocado and a tiny bit of mayo for a delightful sandwich spread. (You can leave out the avocado if you don't have it.) The point is you are subbing healthful ingredients for not-so-healthful mayo and adding some great flavor to your sandwich, cracker or baguette.
My trusty immersion blender comes in very handy for this task. The Braun comes with several attachments.
The dry ingredients go into the little blender jar and get chopped fine.
Then the olive oil is added and you blend again. Finis. It's that simple. Doesn't take long at all.
I was experimenting with this recipe, but really, really like it. The flavors are perfect, and I'll definitely be making more as my basil grows. You won't get much with this recipe -- less than 1/2 cup -- but you can double or triple the amounts if you have more basil.
Basil Pecan Pesto
Source: Judy's Kitchen
Rating: 10 out of 10
INGREDIENTS: 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1-1/2 Tbsp. good-quality Romano cheese, cut into small chunks
2 Tbsp. toasted pecans
1 medium garlic clove
sea salt and pepper to taste (I didn't add very much -- start with 2 pinches and taste it)
1/2 - 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice (start with 1/2 tsp. and taste it; add more if needed)
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (add more if needed, but this should do it)
In blender or work bowl of mini-food processor, combine all ingredients except olive oil. Pulse till everything is ground fine; add oil and process till it becomes a loose paste. Use immediately or refrigerate or freeze as desired.
8/9/09 Update: The basil started to grow, with all the rain we've been having. I picked 1-1/2 cups packed (about 2-1/4 cups loose), so I tripled the recipe, but had to use my Cuisinart to make it, because it was too much for the little Braun chopper. And, btw, you may think the Braun is pricey, but it's the only one that doesn't splash. It's well worth the price and I totally love it.
I made a delicious sandwich with leftover pork tenderloin and leftover sweet potato mash and some pesto mixed with avocado and just a dab of mayo. It was super yummy. Sweet potato mash is fantastic on a sandwich.