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Pesto

May 21, 2012

Pesto, and all about it:

Fresh pesto ideas

There are few things as good and as versatile as pesto. It’s easy to make, it goes on practically anything and it adds such an explosion of flavor to any sort of meal.

Pesto originates from Northern Italy and is traditionally made with garlic, basil, pine nuts, olive oil and parmigiana cheese. The word “Pesto itself comes from the Italian word, “Pestare” which means to crush or to pound. So you can really make pesto out of anything- such as cilantro, sundried tomatoes, mint…. the list goes on. This post is about the traditional kind of pesto (my favorite). 

Did you know that pesto didn’t become popular in North America until the 1980s!?
(According to Wikipedia). 

I’m sure that most people who cook a lot already know how to make pesto. But whether you already know how to make it or not, maybe this post can inspire you to use it in a different way.  Check out my pesto ideas below the recipe!

Garlic pesto baguette

Garlic Pesto Baguette

Pesto

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of fresh basil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • Olive oil 
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup (or less) of parmigiana cheese

*Note:  Most of the time I make pesto with just basil, garlic, and olive oil. It still tastes just as amazing. Besides, pine nuts can get to be expensive sometimes. 

To Do:

  • Put the peeled garlic cloves, a drizzle of olive oil and the pine nuts into a food processor. 
  • Next add in the basil leaves, pepper and add more olive oil if necessary. 
  • If you have a really good food processor- it will become a think paste, if you have an “okay” one like me- it can still be chunky, but blended together for the most part. 
stack of eggplant. tomato, mozzarella mountains with pesto

Eggplant Mountains

Now, here are a few things that you can do with the pesto:

  • Marinate chicken in pesto then grill the chicken on the barbecue
  • Put pesto in a grilled cheese sandwich (SO good)
  • Spread it on french bread and toast it for a different kind of garlic bread
  • Chop up some potatoes and cover them in pesto and bake for 20 minutes
  • Mix it with rice, cous cous, or even quinoa
  • Put it on pizza or flat bread, instead of tomato sauce
  • Put it on a burger (even better: a turkey burger)
  • Spread pesto on baguette slices and serve it with soup
  • Make a caprese salad with pesto, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella
  • Mix it with plain yogurt and use it as a veggie dip
  • Make it vegan and use nutritional yeast instead of cheese
  • Make Eggplant Mountains
  • Pour your leftover pesto into ice cube trays and freeze it! Whenever you need pesto, pop a cube into a pot and let it melt when you need need it!

Well there you have it! The amazing possibilities of pesto! Let me know if you have any more ideas for pesto – I’d love to hear them! Plus, I have a basil plant growing in my yard, just waiting to be used up.

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