Saturday, May 4, 2013

Pesto Two Ways

Red and Basil Pesto


 Woza!  I can't believe that I totally missed April with a blog post.  My life has just been really busy and with
all the craziness, the blog entries suffered.

Well today I'm back in the kitchen!

This week has been full of memories of last year's vacation to Italy.  My friend Wanda and I have been reading journals and sharing quotes.  We recalled and laughed about funny moments that merited subsequent pinky swears that we'd carry those stories to our graves!  That's what best friends are for? Right?  It was an amazing trip and we made wonderful new friends that we hope to get to see again someday.

One of the highlights during the first week of the trip was a wonderful experience we had visiting Monterosso and the day we spent with Daniella.  So in tribute to that memory, today I made pesto!

Fortunately fresh basil is available in my local grocery so I can   enjoy it anytime I am inclined (which is pretty often).  I'll follow with a couple of additional blog entries soon (I promise) for incorporating the pesto into other recipes.  In the meantime, just plain good for slathering on toasted bread or as dippers from fresh veggies!

Recently I brought home some old dishes that I found stored away that belonged to both of my grandmothers.  The small bowls with stripes were used at my grandma Helen's restaurant as well as a couple of crockery bowls, one being grandma Helen's and the other grandma Mary's.  You'll see these heirlooms in the photographs.  As I was cleaning up, I couldn't help but think that these two women would have never ever thought of making anything like pesto nor believed any any such concoction would be served in these bowls.  I also best they would be surprised, and hopefully proud, that their bowls are still around and being used in their granddaughter's kitchen.




Pesto


Ingredients:


4 cups of loose fresh basil leaves, cleaned
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (use the good stuff)
1/3 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup parmigiano and pecorino cheeses, finely grated
large pinch of salt

Directions:

Pick and wash the basil leaves in cold water.  Do not pick the stems.  Drain the basil leaves in a colander.  Lay them out on a cotton dish towel and gently roll them up in the towel an let sit for a few minutes so the excess moisture can be absorbed.  Don't twist or flatten the towel, you don't want to bruise the basil.

Put the basil in the bowl of a food process (unless you are a glutton for punishment and want to use the old fashioned mortar and pestle).  Pulse several times until the basil is finely chopped - about 10-20 times should do the trick.



Add the garlic and a large pinch of salt.  Pulse until uniform and creamy.




Turn the food process on continuously and through the tube of the food processor lid, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Add the pine nuts and pulse until uniform and creamy.
Transfer the mixture from the food processor to a small mixing bowl.  Add the parmigiano and pecorino cheese and stir until well mixed.  Set aside roughly 1/4 cup if you are going to make the Red Pesto. I nearly always make both when I make Pesto.




Red Pesto


Ingredients:


1/4 cup Pesto (recipe above)
1 package sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup parmigiano
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Directions:


Add the pesto and the sun dried tomatoes and process until smooth.
Add the pine nuts and cheese and continue to process until smooth.
With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil, using as much as is needed to have a good creamy texture.
Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
Serve with crackers, grissini, bruschetta, raw veggies, etc.



....and that's What's Cooking at Cathy's ~ Enjoy!


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About Me

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My career is in IT.  Cooking and photography are among a few of my hobbies. In my spare time, which is most weekends I tie on my apron and exercise my creativity by trying new recipes and adapting them to my tastes. I also have a passion for photography that I incorporate by taking photographs to go along with the recipes I post on my blog.  
I also enjoy travel, both near and abroad. Meeting new people, new experiences and cultures and oh, not to mention the food! I hope you enjoy my blog.