Friday, October 8, 2010

Homemade Pesto with Pecans

Pesto Sauce

Pesto was one of those illusive sauces that I thought you could only buy and whoever was making it was some sort of wizard that could conjure up this magical green goop. Then I started to watch cooking shows and found out that there really isn't anything to it. You throw some stuff into a food processir and bam, you have homemade pesto. So I started making my own. The days of buying this beautiful green sauce were behind me.

After I got the base recipe down I started experimenting with different ingredients. The first thing I fooled around with was the nuts that you place in it. The original recipe calls for pine nuts which are crazy expensive and somewhat bland. So I tried walnuts, hazlenuts, peanuts and chestnuts but the best results I had were with pecans. They are bursting with flavor and bring out more of the basil flavor. I also started adding different things to the purree including sun dried tomatoes which is amazing. I left it out of this recipe though. Also traditionally for some acidity most people add lemon juice which I think makes it a little bitter so I use red wine vinegar.

So this is my base recipe for pesto. You can play around with whatever you like to make it your own. You can put this stuff on pasta, pizza, use it as a marinade or even stuff it inside mushrooms. It's one of the most universal and recognizable sauces around. If you are having trouble finding basil at your local grocery store (Safeway, Albertsons, Top Food) check your local produce stands or specialty grocery stores. If you have any questions or suggestions let me know.

- 1 cup whole pecans
- 1 bulb garlic, all paper removed
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 1 cup parmesean
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 - 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup olive oil

The Process
1. Take all the ingredients minus the olive oil and add to a blender or food processor. Place the oil in something that is easily pourable. Start the food processor and slowly add oil. As you add more oil it will start to blend more. After you add all the oil if it's still not smooth enough for you add a little more oil. Continue to purree for an additional minute after all the oil has been added.
2. Remove from the food processor and use it on whatever you want. Store additional sauce in the fridge for 2 weeks or in the freezer for 2 months.
3. Enjoy!

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