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Presto Pesto!



OK. I'm probably not the first person to use the phrase: Presto Pesto, but it's kind of what happened today. I watered the garden this morning and took some time to poke around in the garden now that things are starting to grow/ripen. To my surprise, my herb box had been overtaken by the basil! The plants were hip-tall and as wide as some of the bushes in the yard. The recent rains an warm but not hot weather really gave them a boost.

When the plants get this big, the best thing to do is cut down about half of the plant and make pesto. Pesto is one of those sauces that has this packed flavor that just melts on pasta or grilled meats/fish. And, it is just about the easiest thing to make. So, this afternoon, it was presto, my fridge is now filled with pesto!

Below is my basic basil pesto recipe. I used this recipe with the Italian basil as well as the lemon basil I'm growing. Since I also had arugula coming out my ears, I decided to throw together an arugula pesto as well. You'll see the ratio of ingredients between the two pestos is very similar which means you can pretty much make pesto out of anything: spinach, kale, zucchini, walnuts, cashews.

Next time you have a lot of something from your garden, think about trying it as a pesto!

Enjoy!

Basil Pesto

2 cups

2 cups fresh basil leaves (from about 3 large bunches)

½ cup olive oil

⅓ cup pine nuts

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Combine first 4 ingredients in blender. Blend until paste forms, stopping often to push down basil. Add cheese and salt; blend until smooth. Transfer to small bowl. Top with 1/2 inch olive oil and chill.

Arugula Pesto

2 cups

  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 2 cups packed arugula leaves

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a food processor, combine the walnuts, garlic, arugula, Parmesan, and salt and pulse to blend. With the machine running, pour in the olive oil through the food tube in a slow, steady stream and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

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