Pesto Presto!

Whir Up a Quick Sauce and Ramp Up Your Dishes

Pesto is a raw herb sauce that is made in minutes. Enjoy how rich a sauce can be with just a few ingredients. Pesto is used on a wide variety of dishes—veggies, soups, flatbreads, salad dressings, over eggs, on-and-on.

Pesto Pasta

To make pesto you need fresh herbs—dried won’t work. Pesto will last a few days under refrigeration, but to preserve, fill individual cubes in a plastic ice cube tray with the fresh pesto, then freeze the tray. Remove the pesto cubes to a freezer bags.

Alternately, you can place in a jar covered with about a 1/2 inch of olive oil and plan on using in about a month.

One cube (about 1 TBS) of pesto will season about a quarter-pound of pasta, make one recipe of salad dressing, or season an eight-cup pot of soup.

Basil Pesto

Makes 1 cup

Use all basil or combine with up to 50% parsley. Change out basil for sage, arugula, or mint. Each will yield another delightful sauce.

  • garlic – 2 tsp, rough chopped
  • basil – fresh, 2 cups, loosely packed
  • salt – 1/4 tsp
  • nuts – 1/4 cup, pine nuts [or walnuts]
  • olive oil – 3 TBS
  • Parmesan cheese – 1/3—1/2 cup, [or Pecorino Romano]

DIRECTIONS: Note> If you want to preserve the bright green of basil pesto, blanch the basil for 10 seconds in boiling water, soak in cold water, squeeze out water, then add to the processor

In a small food processor or mortar, combine garlic, herbs, salt, and nuts. Blend or crush into a paste then drizzle in the olive oil.

Pulse in the cheese (if using) until just combined. Add more oil if too thick. Alternately, use water to create a light “mayo-like” consistency.

Use as a flavor bomb on almost any dish that can use herbs—add a tablespoon at a time and then taste to adjust if needed. It powers up a soup when added off heat into each bowl.

© 2021, Bill Hettig

Pecan Pesto

Pecan Pesto Accompanying Grilled Yellow Squash

This is a surprising and delicious non-dairy pesto with the addition of molasses. My favorite! It also makes a lovely spread when blended with mayonnaise.

  • pecan halves – 1/3 cup
  • salt – 1/4 tsp
  • parsley, fresh – 1/2 cup packed
  • basil, fresh – 1/2 cup packed
  • garlic, fresh – 1 tsp, minced
  • liquid hickory smoke – 1/4 tsp, [optional]
  • molasses – 1 tsp
  • olive oil – 1/4 cup

PECAN PESTO SPREAD:  Add in one cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 300 degrees and toast pecan halves for 6-7 minutes, until fragrant and a shade darker.

In a food processor finely grind each of the following ingredients in the following succession: 1/4 cup toasted pecans with salt, then add the parsley with the basil, then  add chopped garlic, liquid smoke and molasses. Process until finely ground. With the processor running, add olive oil and process until smooth.

Add the mayo and whisk until just combined.

Basil Pesto on Grilled Zucchini Served with Herbed Rice, Portobello Mushroom Steak, and Bok Choi Sauté

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