FINALLY. A use for all the basil thats being constantly spawned by my burgeoning basil plants. (AND one more great opportunity to get some use out of the ol' food processor.)
I'm still struggling with this baking vs. cooking crisis I'm having. And not winning the battle, I should say. Soon to come will be a fantastic recipe for cookies and banana creme pie. but after that! I swear.... sheesh.
So Benny and I took a trip out to the burbs to spend some much needed time with my parents (directly following some terrific time with his) the other day and I figured I'd use the opportunity to finally make pesto. Benny cooked the chicken and the pasta while I worked on dessert and whipped up a batch of pesto. I added way too much cheese to it in order to please my parents (and my self of course) and it turned out wonderfully. Although I do think it might be nice to make this in advance and let the flavors enjoy each other's company a little more, do as you please. This will be another au pif recipe.
(au pif: literally means "in the nose," which makes some sense: letting one's nose provide guidance. But the more idiomatic equivalents of this expression are "at a rough guess" or "at random.")
so. let the recipe commence.
Recipe Soundtrack: "Sous le ciel de paris" By Edith Piaf (I know that pesto is italian and not french but this song is just great)
From My Macedonian Kitchen
2 cups fresh basil
4 cloves of garlic (medium to large)
1 cup almonds (pine nuts would work well also, obviously - but then we wouldn't get to call it basil and almond pesto, would we?)
1 cup good quality olive oil
1 cup finely grated parmesean cheese
1/4 cup finely grated romano cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Put the baso; and garlic into your food processor or blender. add 1/4 cup of olive oil and blend for about 2 minutes - until you get a smooth paste. Add the almonds and keep blending. It will take awhile for the nuts to become fully incorporated and smooth. Continue adding small amounts of olive oil as needed until the pesto is blending easily. Add cheese and remainder of olive oil, until it tastes the way you like it. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Alternately, if you're using a food processor you can just stick everything in there and get it going until everything looks and tastes right.
Either way, its simple and completely delicious.
Feel free to do what you will with it. We tossed it with penne pasta and diced chicken and garnished with basil leaves and shredded Parmesan. I would not be opposed to a little bit of ground up almond on top either, for a bit of crunch. (Making sure not to overdo it, of course) You can also always spread it on toast, use it as the sauce in a pizza, put it on sandwiches, etc. The possibilities are endless. Store it in an airtight container and you're good to go.
(This served 4 people with plenty extra.)