Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Presto! Pesto!


I had a notion that I wasn't really cooking until I could make my own pesto. It's completely arbitrary, but I feel like most people have a benchmark like that, the dish or skill that signifies a change in status. For me, it was pesto.

This recipe drew from the one found here, another cooking blog I read (one far more extensive than my own). I finally have a reason to own a rolling pizza cutter! I fully believe what she said about making it easier and faster to chop herbs, and it seems like such an ingenious idea.

Where I deviated from 101 Cookbooks was using fresh basil instead of dried. I realize that depending on the uses one wanted from pesto, or shelf life, dried might be preferable, but for mine, fresh seemed to offer more. My apartment smelled like basil for 48 hours after I finished chopping. It was pretty amazing.

I also did pop it in the food processor--I did most of the chopping myself, actually, but just to make sure it was all relatively even and mixed, I figured it couldn't hurt. It was rather magnificent.

In actually using the pesto, I sauteed it over mushrooms (to which I added a coarser chopped clove of garlic and small handful of full pine nuts, because how can you ever have too much?). The smell just overflowed out of the pan. It was pretty amazing, really.

And with that, the recipe:

Pesto
1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed
3 medium cloves of garlic
one small handful of raw pine nuts
roughly 3/4 cup Parmesan
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

Chop the garlic and basil together, slowly chopping one manageable bunch at a time, and mixing the results in a medium-sized bowl. Aim for as smooth a mixture as possible.

Chop the pine nuts, add with the Parmesan and olive oil to the mixture. Hand-mix.

Blend, if desired.

Mushrooms
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small handful pine nuts
1 box fresh mushrooms, sliced
5 tbsp pesto
2 tbsp olive oil

Saute garlic in olive oil until golden. Add mushrooms and pine nuts, and let simmer for 2 minutes. Add pesto, and continue to simmer for 8-10 minutes. Serve.

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