Saturday, February 18, 2012

Basil Pesto

If you are looking for a quick, simple, delicious dish pesto pasta is a great choice. The main ingredient in this dish is fresh basil, lots of fresh basil. Pesto is so versatile. It can be tossed with many different types of pasta (spaghetti, linguine, penne, bowtie etc.) and is also delicious as a spread for baguette style bread, sandwiches, or even meat. I love using it in eggs or omelets, too.

Believe it or not, I had never used fresh basil before moving to Italy. Dried basil was always more convenient and I never really thought about using fresh. The smell of fresh basil is wonderful, and I think I will always associate it with Sicily. Pasta, fresh baked bread, olive oil, wine and fresh basil will mentally bring me back to this beautiful island. 

I highly recommend using a food processor for making the pesto. If you don't have a food processor you can use a blender, but it doesn't chop the basil as well.

Last summer I purchased a basil plant, but it didn't grow very well so now I just buy basil whenever I need it. What are some of your favorite fresh herbs? Do you grow them inside or outside? I would love to hear your herb growing tips.

Pair this pesto pasta dish with bruschetta, and a green salad for a quick delicious Italian meal!

Basil Pesto and Pasta


Source: Southern Living Ultimate Cookbook
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Yield: 6 side dish servings

¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts
½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
¼ cup fresh parsley sprigs
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, halved
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ cup olive oil
 6 ounces pasta

·         Toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes. If desired.
·         Process nuts, basil, and next 5 ingredients in container of a food processor or electric blender 2 minutes or until smooth. (If using a blender, coarsely chop herbs before processing.) Gradually pour oil through food chute with processor running until a paste forms.
·         Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Spoon pesto mixture over pasta; toss gently, and serve immediately.

Buon Appetito!

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