Friday, August 10, 2007

basil pesto

From the Baltimore Famer's Market last sunday, I brought home a pint of blueberries, a bagful of zucchini and squash, apple bran muffins, and a bundle of fragrant Italian basil. For a quick dinner last night, I made basil pesto, and tossed this with whole wheat penne, cherry tomatoes, caramelized onion, and sweet peas. The warmth of the pasta gently melts the parmigiano in the sauce, making it cling to all the beautiful ridges of the penne.

Basil Pesto

1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted until golden
1 cup fresh basil, packed
1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

In a food processor, combine the pinenuts, basil, Parmigiano, and garlic. Mix until evenly chopped. While still running, drizzle in the oil, and add the salt. Mix until blended.

-use real Parmigiano: the protein and flavor crystals from the aging process will be absolutely delicious in your sauce
-keep an eye on the pinenuts as they are toasting- the high oil content accelerates the cooking
-instead of hand grating the cheese, you can chop a block of it into smaller pieces, throw it into the food processor and let it do the work for you