Fresh seasonal pesto.Fresh seasonal pesto.By Zester Daily staff
If you're a passionate cook, and passionate about Mediterranean aromas and flavors, you've probably made pesto genovese many times.
Passing through a farmers market on a hot summer morning, you've been dazzled by the spicy fragrance emanating from big, fresh bundles of grassy-green-leafed basil, taken it all home and tossed it in the food processor or blender with some olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and grated cheese, whizzed it thoroughly and turned out the hefty basil-flavored sauce.
You might have served it as a dip or as a dollop on top of pasta, vegetable minestrone or pistou, or even on a plain baked potato, which is exalted by the presence of this rich confection, with its fresh, raw flavors of garlic and mint. (Basil is in the mint family of Labiatae.)
Almost any summer green can be transformed in a variation on classic pesto Here are a couple of our favorite pesto recipes. The first is a classic sweet basil dish and the second is a fun twist made with the wild green called garlic mustard.
SWEET BASIL PESTO
Makes 1 cup
1 cup loose sweet basil leaves
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic
¼ cup pine nuts or roasted almonds
½ cup grated parmigiano regiano
salt to taste
twist of lemon
pinch of chilli pepper
1. Place basil, olive oil, garlic and nuts in the blender, and pulse blend for 5-10 seconds.
2. Place in a bowl, and mix in grated cheese.
3. Add salt to taste. You can add an optional twist of lemon for tang, and some chilli pepper to spice it up.
Contributing: Sarah Khan.
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Garlic mustard, which is actually an invasive species in North America, is a lively accent in salads or on sandwiches. It's also good lightly steamed, simmered or sauteed. But maybe the best way to enjoy it is as a pesto. You can use your favorite basil pesto recipe, or try this one.
GARLIC MUSTARD PESTO
3 packed cups of garlic mustard
½ to 1 cup walnuts (or other nut of your choice)
1 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup Parmesan cheese or Romano cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Combine garlic mustard, garlic, and walnuts in a food processor.
2. Slowly add olive oil until desired consistency is reached.
3. Add cheese and process briefly.
4. Taste and add salt or pepper if desired.
5. Serve over pasta or spread on crackers or sandwiches.
Contributing: Terra Brockman
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