Sunday, July 13, 2008

Homemade Pesto Sauce

When comes to sauces (basicly food in general), I always prefer to make homemade instead of getting from the grocery store. All-homemade is fresher than the ones in the stores. Although sometimes, it is cheaper to just get it from the store. (I always think if they sell it in the grocery store, i can cook/make it)..

In my previous blog, I used the basil leaves for my tomato sauce. Well this morning, I decided to use all of the leaves (now my plant is almost leafless). I have learned that fresh basil is very delicate. It will turn brown if it gets very hot or if it's exposed to air for long periods of time. So before the leaves are wasted, I should do something with it. Pesto sauce!

Pesto sauce originates in the city of Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy, where people have been making it for so many years with the green basil that grows wild on the hillsides. It is commonly used in pasta. You can also mix it with mayonnaise as a dip, on pizza in place of the tomato sauce or mix with cream cheese for your bagel. When you mix pesto with pasta, potatoes or even risotto, it is to be stirred in at the last minute just before serving. It is very important never to cook pesto because when basil is heated, it gets bitter.

Store pesto in a jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week, in the freezer for about six months. To keep it looking fresh and green, cover the top with a thin layer of olive oil or with a sheet of plastic wrap directly on its surface; this will keep it from oxidizing and turning brown. If your pesto darkens in color, it will still taste good. Discard it if it has been stored improperly. One way to freeze pesto, is in ice cube tray then transfer the cubes to a heavy duty plastic freezer bag (the ice cube tray may discolor and flavored, so reserve the ice cube tray just for this purpose). Thaw frozen pesto in the refrigerator or in the microwave on medium power just until room temperature.

Recipe: Pesto sauce

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine basil, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese(i tend to add a little more parmesan cheese in mine) in a food processer.

2. Pulse on/off 6 times to coarsely chop the ingredients. Trickle in olive oil with the blender running until the basil mixture is a puree

3. Remove pesto from blender container. Stir in pepper and salt to taste.

(recipe from Try-Foods International)

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