20 Jun 2011, 5:00pm
recipes
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  • In my napsack stash

  • Presto. It’s pesto!

    I really think I should stop posting about food.  I’m feeling a little obsessed and slightly neurotic at this point.  My last two posts have been about food…number three coming right up.  But how can I not?

    My sister is in visiting before she jets off for the summer.  Her plans include places I’d rather not mention because, quite frankly, they make me jealous.  *ehm*  Ok, fine.  It’s Europe.  I’ll get over it. 

    So, while we were on the phone talking about all the things we wanted to do while she was here, she mentioned she had a fabulous pesto recipe she wanted to make for us.  In all honestly, I was a bit skeptical because I’d never really sat and enjoyed “pesto”.  I’ve had it before but it was unmemorable.  But today was the perfect day because: number one, I was starving and number two that live basil needed to be used. 

    For some reason I was under the unfortunate misconception that pesto was this terribly intricate thing that would take a couple hours.  Why?  I don’t know.  But it’s not!!  From start to finish, my sister whipped this out in roughly twelve minutes…totally worth it, too.

    She started off with the live basil, plucking all the leaves off and washing them.  Then, she added spinach, because we wanted to make a leeettlee beet more of this than what we could with only basil.  Spinach does nothing but give that basil a nice jump off point.  Right onto your tongue.  It softens the overall taste but it’s not a bad thing.  Look, my blender, once again, stuffed full of leaves…poor thing.

    Then, she put in the olive oil, a dash of sea salt, pine nuts and garlic.  Those pine nuts bring such a wonderful, earthy undertone to the pesto.

    Once the mixture was nice and pureed, she added in a little secret that one of her teachers shared  — cream cheese.  And this is where we divert from the recipe you will see below.  Put in a whole block of cream cheese and turn that sucker up!

    Puree until…well, it’s pureed!  Then serve on a soft French baguette.  Overall rating?  Superb.  It’s perfect for a dinner party…you know the stuff you set out so the guests don’t munch through your table while waiting for the main course…. mmhmm.  Now, I know it looks just like the last recipe I made but it’s not the same AT all!  Believe it or not my artichoke dip was supposed to be white…NOT green.  Told you I made a boo-boo.

    Oh, and here’s a little secret.  If you’re really hooked, which I’m sure you will be, you can make this and freeze it!  But you can only freeze it SANS cream cheese.  Go ahead and follow the recipe below, place it in an ice cube tray…freeze, pop it into a ziploc baggy and when the winter months roll around pull it out and make it all over again…don’t forget to add that cream cheese, that’s what makes this so. stinkin’.good.

    (if you so choose, you can, when making this fresh, substitute two cups of basil with two cups of spinach.  Go half and half.)

    (Cream Cheese) Basil Pesto
     adapted from Naturally Ella
    Author: Erin Alderson
    Prep time: 10 mins
    Total time: 10 mins
    Serves: 0
    Ingredients
    • 4 cup basil leaves
    • 3 clove garlic
    • 1/2 cup raw pine nuts
    • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    Instructions
    1. Combine all of the ingredients, minus the olive oil, into a food processor. Pulse to combine. Begin to pour in olive oil and continually pulse mixture- the goal is not to liquefy but have all the ingredients finely chopped. Store in an air tight container.

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