Monday, August 10, 2009

BASIL PECAN PESTO

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.










9 comments:

Valerina said...

Wow! Pecans in pesto. I am already hungry for lunch after reading this. :)

Sylwia said...

I adore pesto, I've never used pecans in mine. Have to try it sometime!

Kerstin said...

I love the pecans in your pesto, it sounds delicious! Great idea to store it in the freezer that way too!

Irene said...

The pecans were a great substitute for pine nuts due to their expense especially with 72 cups of basil to process! This recipe was great with lime juice and balsamic vinegar added too. There are more variations suggested at www.uprisinginmyyard.bloggspot.com.

Dana B said...

Wonderful! Thx for posting this. I was wondering if I could use pecans in my pesto instead of walnuts and voila! Apparently it works fine :)

Another idea for freezing, especially if you do large quantities is to freeze the pesto in an ice cube tray or silicone cupcake pan and then dump the cubes into a freezer bag or container and use as needed.

Dana B said...

Wonderful! Thank you for posting this. I was wondering if I could use pecans instead of walnuts in my pesto and voila! Apparently I can :)

Another idea for freezing - use ice cube trays or a silicone cupcake pan. Just dump the frozen cubes into a freezer container and use as needed. Works beautifully.

Judy said...

Dana, Thanks for mentioning the ice cube tray, definitely an oversight on my part. I would have used one, but I don't happen to have one. The new fridges come without -- instead they have ice makers.

lenalong said...

I tried this just now and it turned out great! I was looking for something to do with the 10 lbs of pecans that my fiance's mother sent us from her pecan farm. Now if I only had that much basil to go with it...

lenalong said...

I just made this a few moments ago and it was delicious! I had been looking for something to do with the 10 lbs of pecans that my fiance's mother sent us from her pecan farm. Now if I could only find that much basil to go with it...