This recipe of mine goes to Srivalli's blog who is hosting the Weekend Herb Blogging event which was started by Kalyn and the herb Iam using in this recipe is " Basil
You can read more about the Benefits of the herb Basil in my blog(Click on the link)
Pesto is a green sauce that originates from Italy.
Pesto is commonly used on pasta, lasagna, strozzapreti or trenette (forms of pasta). It is sometime used in minestrone as well. Pesto tastes good when served on tomatoes and sliced boiled potatoes. It can also be served as a dip for chips also. It can be served, spread on a baguette (French loaf)
It is very important never to cook pesto because basil when heated gets bitter.
Pesto is made with basil, salt, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, European pine nuts (often toasted) and a grated hard cheese like Parmesan or Romano).
Historically, pesto was (and is sometimes still) prepared in a marble mortar with wooden pestle. First the basil leaves are washed and dried and then put in the mortar together with garlic and some coarse crystals of sea salt, crushed to a creamy consistency. Then the pine nuts are added and crushed together. When the pine nuts are well incorporated in the "cream", the cheese plus olive oil can be added and stirred together with a wooden spoon. The sauce is now ready. Store in a tight jar, or simply in an air-tight plastic container, pesto can last in the refrigerator up to a week. Pesto can also be frozen, if needed. If you want to freeze the pesto you may omit the cheese (it doesn't freeze well). Line an ice cube tray with plastic wrap, and fill each pocket with the pesto. Freeze and then remove from the ice tray and store in a freezer bag. When you want to use, defrost and add in grated Parmesan or Romano. Most basil pesto recipes call for pine nuts but you can easily substitute it with walnuts.
(Info courtesy Wikipedia)
1 large bunch of basil, leaves only, washed and dried
3 medium cloves of garlic
one small handful of raw pine nuts
3/4 cup Parmesan, loosely packed and FRESHLY GRATED
A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
Pick out the basil leaves, Use only the leaves, not the stem, seeds or any other part. Wash it thoroughly in a colander. Then spread on a plastic paper to dry.
Traditionally the pesto was prepared using a mortar and pestle, but those who don’t have one, you can chop the ingredients finely, but this involves a lot of chopping so I used a chopper. Of course nothing can beat the taste of pesto crushed with a mortar and pestle. The other option is putting the ingredients into a blender, but doing that would make it into a fine paste. We want it to be in medium texture not too coarse or too fine.
Because I used the chopper (picture on the left), I could take care that the pesto didn’t become a fine paste.
Most pesto recipes call for Parmesan cheese, but I used Romano cheese in my recipe, this has a stronger flavor.
Chop the garlic in the chopper finely, then add the pine nuts(see picture of pine nuts on the right)
and chop into small pieces, then add the basil and chop until all of it blends into a fine mixture. Add the Romano cheese and run until the mixture blends well. Check for salt. The cheese already has salt, so after adding the cheese, if required add salt as per taste and run the chopper to blend it well. Now remove and put the pesto sauce into a glass bottle and top it with 3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Don’t replace with normal Olive oil, Use only Extra virgin Olive Oil (as shown in the picture on your left). Check the label on the bottle while buying the oil.
Your homemade Pesto is ready. You can set this aside or place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Just before serving give the pesto a quick stir to incorporate some of the oil into the basil. Pesto can last in the refrigerator up to a week. Pesto can also be frozen as mentioned above, if needed, this gives it a longer shelf life.