How does it feel to be in my Cuisanart?
Let me tell you a little something about basil. Basil is an herb that has a uniqueness all of it's own. Mostly an annual, with the exception of tropical climates, it is strong and delicate at the same time. Often used in Italian and Asian foods, basil has a reputation as an antioxidant, an anticancer, and an antimicrobial. It is native to southeast Asia, mostly Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia and is said to originally make its way to us from Iran and India. I am mainly interested in this part of the world for two things; their food and their culture.
Pesto is made out of basil and a few other ingredients that you'll no doubt have on hand. Simply, the aroma given off by fresh pesto makes you feel like you just layed down on long cool wet grass after running a 5k. Delightful and refreshing. Having a little pesto around will fill up your heart with happiness and make you the superhero of the meal. You won't be disappointed. I do have to make the suggestion that you use a Cuisanart to finely mince the ingredients. If you do this by hand, then you ARE a superhero.
The pesto can be used fresh or divided and frozen for later use. Some people say pour it in ice cube trays and freeze for later use. I'm all for cutting corners, but I think that's a little cocky and I like to keep mine fresh and store it in small plastic tubs with lids. I pull it out of the freezer in the morning and thaw it in the fridge. I have used it on salmon, shrimp, chicken, pasta, mixed it into cooked rice, and as a spread on bread.
Try it! Purchase a loaf of ciabatta bread (ciabatta means 'slipper' in Italian), slice the long way through the middle, lay both pieces flat with insides facing up, spread some pesto lightly on each side and put under the broiler for 4 minutes. Serve with wine. Everyone I know raves about this bread and it is always the first to go. Plan on sharing a lot!
3 C. fresh basil leaves
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1/2 C. parmesan cheese
3 T. Pignoli nuts (pine nuts)
1 T. lemon juice
Salt to taste
3/4 C. olive oil
In a Cuisanart, pulse on and off the first six ingredients. While keeping Cuisanart running, gradually poor in the olive oil until the pesto sauce is the consistentcy you desire for the entree you are making. Either use immediately or divide the batch into separate small tubs and freeze for future use. The versatility is amazing!