Recipe challenge, week fifteen.
I have this theory that heaven smells like fresh basil. I mean, it has to, right? It wouldn't make sense if it didn't. The smell of fresh basil is sweet and earthy and absolutely intoxicating. I've never succeeded at growing my own basil but I've tried 4 years in a row. That's the no green thumb issue I guess.
I'm fortunate that we live near a Trader Joe's because they have fantastic prices on tubs of fresh basil. It's like $3 for a tub. A tub! Also, at the farmer's market in Old Colorado City in the summer: giant bunches of it for just a couple of dollars. Perfect for bruschetta and pizza.
Also fortunately, I'm never at a loss for what to do with extra fresh basil. It'd be a shame to let it go bad, so I make it into pesto.
This is my pesto recipe. I've combined ideas from other recipes and just kind of figured out what works for me. This is cheaper than pure basil and pine nut pesto, and it has the extra bonus of the nutrients you get from spinach. On this day, I had some fresh oregano in the crisper from making this marinara sauce so I added that to the food processor. Very tasty.
Here's the ingredients:
This basil isn't from TJ's. It was more than $3 and was from Safeway but that's what I had.
You need citrus. I had no lemon, so I used lime and I couldn't tell a difference.
I use pecans or walnuts, depending on what I have on hand. Pine nuts are too expensive for my taste.
I use shredded parmesan because blocks of parmesan are also too expensive for my taste.
I did use that whole bag of spinach.
makes about 3 cups
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
2-3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
1 10 oz. bag fresh spinach
1 clove garlic
1 handful pecans, walnuts, or pine nuts
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 T. fresh lemon or lime juice
Sea salt, to taste
In a food processor, put in the basil, oregano, garlic, citrus juice, and half the spinach. Pulse until blended.
Add the nuts. Blend again.
Add the cheese. Blend again. Then add the rest of the spinach and stream in the olive oil while blending until it comes together.
I also freeze this in containers or freezer bags, but I serve it with noodles (or on pizza) with extra cheese.