Saturday, September 20, 2008

Pesto 3 Ways

My sister-in-law Jerrea has an enormous basil plant so I stole a few bunches so I could make pesto and not have to spend a ton of money. Pesto enjoyed a big resurgence a few years back, and I still like making a couple of batches every summer. Spread it on toast, use in panini, pasta, on potatoes, on pizza, with chicken - whatever.

Basil Pesto
3 garlic cloves (more or less, depending on taste)
1/2 c. toasted pine nuts
1 t. kosher salt
2 c. basil leaves, packed
1/2 c. or so grated parmesan cheese
1/2 c. (about) extra virgin olive oil

I mix everything in a food processor and drizzle in the oil at the end. Check and adjust seasoning. Store in a lidded glass container with a little oil on top of the pesto to keep it from turning brown.

Pesto with Roast Chicken: put a tablespoon or so pesto underneath the chicken skin, season chicken, and bake at 375 until done. Serve with more pesto on the top if you want. Ina Garten has a recipe that also includes goat cheese with the pesto.

Pesto with hash browns: use pesto as a condiment. I use potatoes that have been par-boiled or baked, and then give them a rough chop, season, add onions or whatever you want, and cook in a well-oiled cast iron pan. I sometimes weigh down the potatoes with another pan to get a "pancake" effect. These potatoes have cheese and green onion. You can also boil small red potatoes, and then roughly smash up the potatoes with olive oil and pesto.

Pesto with pasta: this is just pasta with pesto, fresh chopped tomatoes, and some mozzerella cheese.

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