9.11.2012

cooking with greens, take II: best pesto.

In the last several days, I've spent a lot of time digging into my first photography class, which for the record, is awesome and I'm so glad I'm doing this. It's not a huge time commitment, but I'm really trying to devote myself and my mind to it, so keeping up with the rest of life has been a hack-job, at least in the last week. I also think it's just that time of year for frazzled brains and the like. It seems like most friends I know are in the same boat. And that always makes me feel better.

As does pesto. Homemade pesto, specifically. I know we've talked about it before, but I thought I'd share The BC's most perfect recipe, especially if you find yourself with a giant bundle of basil, like I did in our last small box.
We have major pizza-loving friends. So much so that they've taken a pizza-making class. (in Napoli. As in: Italy. The country.) They have their own brick oven that they've mastered. And Mari loves them (and their puppies) as much as she loves pizza crust, which seems to be a lot.

They are good friends to have.

Their favorite pizza is anything with pesto (on a homemade sourdough crust that is just heavenly), so I made one jar for the pizza chefs and one jar for us. This sauce is freezer-friendly, when topped with a thin film of olive oil, and I'm obsessed. I think it's the subtle walnut flavor that permeates every addictive drop.

The Barefoot Contessa's Pesto
From Barefoot Contessa Parties!, page 142

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (about 9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated parmesan

Place the walnuts, pine nuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and process for 30 seconds. Add the basil, salt and pepper. With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the parmesan and puree for a minute. Use immediately, or refrigerate or freeze in a sealed container.

In the time it takes you to wash and dry your basil, this delightful sauce will be made. It's quick (except for that leaves drying part). To clean basil in bulk, I swirl leaves in a big bowl of cool water, and then spin dry in a salad spinner. If I plan to use later, I let the leaves sit out on the counter to dry completely, and store them in a sealed, plastic bag with a very lightly dampened paper towel, in the frig.

Thanks mom, for that tip.

2 comments:

Belle on Heels said...

I love Ina's pesto! The walnuts make it extra special, I think. What a great gift to make for your friends :)

Garden, Home and Party said...

Alison,
This is one of my favorite recipes and so easy. What a thoughtful gift for your pizza-loving friends.
Karen