Thursday, September 8, 2011

Farmer's Market Pesto Sauce

Category: Rice and Pasta
Difficulty Rating: Very Easy
Fresh and Lighter Fat than regular Pesto

To make a good Pesto sauce you must have fresh basil. You can usually find pretty good basil at your local market, but the best basil at the best prices is at a Farmer's market. Mr. Smith and I usually go to the one in Aptos. Walking amidst the rainbow displays of dahlias, delphiniums, zucchini and strawberries is one of my favorite things to do. Usually there is a group of musicians playing bluegrass tunes. Parents smile and look on as their toddlers dance in front of the band. The music floats on the air as people stroll in the morning sun. Basil is easy to find, you smell it first. Sweet and pungent, it's green leaves beckon, challenging you to 'Go ahead, be Italian! Make Pesto!'.

Note: My grandmother, Gladys, (who was French/Scottish, not Italian) used to make Pesto sauce and put it on hot fettucine. I think the French call it "Pistou". They float it on top of warm vegetable soup--which is absolutely heaven! You can also put it on french bread instead of garlic butter and warm it up! It's also terrific on  roasted chicken or turkey sandwiches!

Common Sense Tip: Pesto should be made when basil is in season in fall. DO double or triple this recipe. I make my Pesto in an ice-cube tray, then dump the cubes into a freezer bag after they're frozen. Microwave for a minute or two to defrost. From The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook. Yield: 1/2 C


2 T pine nuts (optional)
2 large garlic cloves
2 3/4 C loosely packed fresh basil leaves (about 1.3 oz)
2 T grated fresh Parmesan cheese (use Parmigiano Reggiano if you can afford it)
2 t lemon juice
3 T extra virgin Olive Oil (get a lighter one--it doesn't interfere with the basil taste)


Drop pine nuts and garlic through food chute with food processor on, and process until minced. Add basil, cheese and lemon juice; process until finely minced. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until well-blended. Toss into hot pasta and top with plenty of freshly grated parmesan. Mangiamo!

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