|Aug 25, 2009 6:41 pm
||BJs Summer Recipes - Pistachio Pesto
Bobbi Jo Woods
|| Hi all
I have had a few trips to the farmer's markets this summer and am pleased to say that I am enjoying the abundance of tasty, cheap and fresh (pesticide-free) produce!
A week ago, I visited the Saint Paul Farmer's Market downtown on Seventh, which is a mini-version of the big one they have on Saturdays and Sundays in Lowertown.
I got a few lbs of cucumbers, tomatoes (both my favorite), as well as some fresh basil...a huge bunch for just a buck! We're talking several handfuls of full plants, not the sparse, flat pile of a few leaves you get in a plastic box at the grocery store.
I also had some fresh garlic and Parmesan, so I thought I'd try my hand at a fresh homemade pesto.
Now, I've never made pesto before, much less eaten it. I had a good idea of what it would taste like, kind of a minty and sweet hit from the basil, and a little spicy and pungent taste from the garlic. I kinda forgot about pine nuts, which is one of the key ingredients giving pesto its nice nutty flavor (the other key ingredient being Parmesan cheese). So I had no idea that instead of pine nuts, one could substitute walnuts or even pistachios. I decided that in my brain, I could possibly use pistachios, being they were the only nuts I had on hand the moment I decided to try making pesto, but a quick search on the Internet confirmed that it could be done.
So here I am, with basil, garlic, Parmesan, oil, and quite a large pile of dry roasted pistachio nuts on hand, so I'm off to a running start!
It took literally just a few minutes to prepare (with the exception of shelling the nuts)
1 cup fresh basil leaves (stemmed), packed
1/2 cup olive oil (I used a good canola blend)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
Place all dry ingredients into a food processor or blender, and whir to ground them all to a fine paste, adding oil through the feeder hole as you go.
Store in a jar or other tightly covered container in the fridge, up to one week.
Cook up a pot of your favorite pasta (spaghetti, penne, linguine, etc.), according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving a small amount of the hot cooking water.
On the stovetop, heat a skillet/saute pan to medium, then add a small dollop of the pesto. Let it start to melt a bit, then add the hot drained pasta. Toss to coat well, adding a bit of the reserved cooking water if needed, to make more of sauce consistency (not too much, you don't want oodles of sauce--just enough to coat the pasta).
Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parmesan, and eat immediately. Mmmmm!
If you want to make a lot of pesto in advance but you know you cannot eat it all within a few days, you can freeze it, into ice cube trays or zip-lock bags (flattened). Freezing pesto works well, provided you DON'T add the cheese when preparing. To use, simply thaw in the fridge and throw it in the blender/food processor with the amount of cheese you'd like. Add a drop or two of oil if it seems dry while pulsing the cheese into the mixture.
Bobbi Jo Woods, Owner - B. Woods Design
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