I am pretty sure it should be categorized as an aphrodisiac.
Basil and cheese and nuts and olive oil. What is there not to love?
I have had an overabundance of basil in the garden this year. It’s been
growing like crazy. So I have been making and canning pesto and even giving
it away. I think this is at least my 10th batch? So I decided to share my recipe
with you. It’s not anything special, but I do like to add two ingredients that is a
bit different than most pestos.
ROASTED GARLIC PESTO
My garden is going crazy right now. It’s been quite the feat keeping
it up with this extreme NC heat. But, here is what I picked literally a
few hours before I made this pesto.
I am happy I planted way more tomato plants than I thought I would need.
Don’t you love the “Baby Casper White Eggplant? Can’t wait to try it.
And the basil is going absolutely crazy!
I make several variations of pesto, but I am sharing my fave here!
My “secret” ingredients are is garlic and lemon. Oh, I know – lots of people
puts garlic in their pesto right? But, I like to take it one step further and
roast it. I could literally eat roasted garlic like butter. (In fact, one of my
fave Compound Butters is Roasted Garlic Butter.) 😀
It’s so easy to roast garlic, and I usually roast 3-4 heads all at one once to have
some for later. Here’s how easy it is…
Cut the about 1/2″+ off the top of the head of garlic.
You want to be able to really see the cloves.
Place in the center of a square of foil large enough to
wrap and tent the garlic.
Pour about 1/4 cup olive oil over garlic, drizzling in between the cloves.
*(I used a lemon infused olive oil) yum! Add a pinch of sea salt!
Wrap the foil around the garlic head in a “tent” manner.
Bake for about 60-90 mins at 375• or until creamy. The garlic
cloves will be a light caramel color. (timing depends on size of head)
Now that you have your garlic roasted, making the pesto is a snap!
(First, let the roasted garlic cool then you can squeeze the creamy cloves out with ease.)
I use my food processor and it only takes me literally minutes. It’s a matter of
throwing everything in, giving it a whirl and adding enough olive oil to make it
into a paste.
Once your pesto is ready, you can store it in an airtight jar or container in
the fridge for up to a week, or freeze it for up to six months.
To keep your jarred pesto looking pretty and green, pour a small layer
of olive oil on top to prevent oxidation and browning.
We love pesto in this family. We eat it as a dip with homemade parmesan
pita chips, with shrimp, on pasta, as a grilled chicken topper – you name it.
I think roasting the garlic gives it a sweeter taste than using raw garlic.
If you want to add a little kick, add some red pepper flakes. I also use
walnuts because they are cheaper, but you can use the traditional pine nuts
or even macadamia nuts for a tropical type pesto, with a bit of pineapple juice
thrown in. The varieties are endless.
Do you want your pesto to have that bright green color? Simply drop the basil leaves
into boiling water for about 6-7 seconds, then remove and place immediately in an ice bath.
This will help maintain the color. Proceed with recipe using the blanched leaves.
Here is the printable recipe:
- (1) Cup Firmly Packed washed and dried basil leaves
- approx 1/4 cup roasted garlic
- 1/4 Cup grated Reggiano-Parmesean Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Walnuts
- zest of 1/2 Lemon
- Juice of 1/2 Lemon
- approx 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- In food processor, combine all ingredients except olive oil. Once all ingredients are added, turn on processor and start drizzling in oil. Turn off, stir all ingredients and scrape side of bowl, turn on again and add more oil as needed. Taste, add more salt as desired.
- If you do not have roasted garlic, I would highly suggest sauteing garlic cloves in olive oil prior to adding to pesto mix, as raw garlic can be bitter and change the taste of the pesto negatively.
- Pesto can be stored in an airtight jar or container for up to one week in the fridge, or up to six months in the freezer.
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