One of the best things about growing a garden is having fresh herbs at your doorstep. Sometimes those herbs can take over though and you need to make something that requires a bit more than just a snip off the top. Pesto is perfect for this. Most people have had or at least know of basil pesto, but did you know you can make pesto from almost anything green and yummy. You can use scapes, chickweed, spinach, parsley etc. or any combination of herbs/greens. It’s also a great free form dish, you can use the proportions that work best for you. Here is a basic recipe to get you started.
- 1 Cup of washed, spun and trimmed fresh oregano (I used greek, but try Italian or mexican if that’s what you have)
- 8 medium-large basil leaves (I used genovese but maybe you might like to try sweet thai or purple)
- 1/2 Cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1/4 Cup of roasted pine nuts (A lot of recipes I’ve seen use walnuts, one even used pistachios)
- 2-3 medium to large garlic cloves
- 4 tbs. of good extra virgin olive oil
Gather up the herbs you want to use, about a fistful of oregano came out to be about perfect when broke down.
Wash your plants in a sink of water by quickly swishing them around and then remove them.I don’t like them to be in the water to long I feel like they get water logged if they sit. Remove and use your spinner of choice. Personally I like to put them in a clean tea towel and spin them myself (outside of course).
Pan toast your pine nuts. If you don’t they have a raw taste which isn’t so appealing.Â Grate your parm. Cut the root ends off the garlic cloves.
Place the herbs, cheese, nuts and garlic in a food processor or mortar and pestle. If you use a mortar and pestle, chop your herbs a little before adding them. It helps them break down better. Also a high walled porcelain mortar is best for this.
Drizzle in the oil while ponding or pulsing your food processor. Blend till you reach your desired consistancy. That’s pretty much it. One of the easiest things in the world to make.
You can use it on pasta, roasted veggies, as a dressing for meats or whatever takes your fancy.
What do you use pesto for? Have any unusual pesto recipes/stories?