Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Unexpected Dividends: Pesto

Last November, I got take out pho from my local Vietnamese place. If you've ever had pho, then you know it comes with a lot of extra greenery (usually basil, scallions and bean sprouts) to garnish the soup. I didn't use it all, so I put the remaining sprig of basil in a glass of water and forgot about it. 

This is what it looked like Saturday.

Not bad for leftovers, huh?

This much basil means pesto, lovely, garlicky, emerald green pesto.

A little thick, but you can always loosen it up with olive oil
The basil bush is now pruned and I have a cup of intensely flavored sauce to put on everything. Pesto is the wonder condiment. It's good on meat, on bread and on vegetables. Use it to liven up a sandwich or dress up some pasta. I like it on steak. The French make a version called  pistou and put it in soup to liven things up. 

That gets me thinking. Could you put pesto in pho? Then things would come full circle. I have to go order some soup.

Basil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed 
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub walnuts)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Place the basil leaves and pine nuts into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a several times. Add the garlic and Parmesan or Romano cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.

2. While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady small stream. Adding the olive oil slowly, while the processor is running, will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor.

3. Stir in some salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

No comments:

Post a Comment