Pesto: from garden to kitchen

Pesto: from garden to kitchen

garlic chili pesto and pesto pasta with portabello mushrooms

mutant basil

I’ve been growing basil since July and thanks to the permanent heat and sun, I now have 14 thriving basil plants that give me weekly supply of healthy, mutant-esquely large basil leaves. I have to make time to pick them and have been freezing them, drying them (which just obliterates the nice basil fragrance), and giving them out to friends.

Today after getting another bucket full of basil, and after doing some research I decided to make a nice garlicky pesto, make a nice Sunday (or Friday for the rest of the world) pesto pasta, and freeze the rest. (Source recipe: http://www.squidoo.com/basil-garlic-pesto)

2012-12-07 11.15.16

Making garlic chili pesto:

about two cups packed fresh basil leaves (rinsed, patted dry)

6 cloves garlic (I like garlic)

2 red Thai chili peppers (not from my garden, yet. maybe in a few weeks), stem and seeds removed

1/4 cup plain almonds

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

about 3/4 cup olive oil

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What I did:

1. Rinse the basil leaves gently in cold water, drain, and pat dry with a towel.

2. pack them in the Magic Bullet blender, blend until evenly chopped.

3. Grind the almonds in the small MB grinder until powdery.

4. Add everything in with the basil except olive oil and cheese, blend until mixed.

5. Add the cheese about 1/4 cup of olive oil at a time, blend, then mix with a spatula, then repeat until desired consistency is reached, like a creamy paste.

6. Spoon the mixture into a clean ice cube tray. I made about 14 half-filled cubes. Store in freezer.

7. When properly frozen, pop the cubes out and store in a freezer-safe ziploc bag. Thaw when ready to use.

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Making Garlic Chili Pesto Pasta with Portabello mushrooms:

1 portion whole wheat pasta of your choice, I like spaghetti or penne

1/4 onion, finely chopped

1 portabello mushroom, cut to bite size

Add to taste: fresh basil leaves, grated parmesan cheese, dried chili flakes, salt and black pepper

1. Cook pasta in a big pot of water with some salt until al dente. Drain and save some pasta water.

2. Heat oil in skillet and saute chopped onions until soft.

3. Add the portabello mushrooms and cook until slightly soft and browned.

4. Add pasta, 2 tablespoons of pesto, some salt, and some pasta water. Mix on low heat until well coated.

5. Add some grated parmesan cheese.

6. Plate the pasta, garnish with freshly cut basil leaves, some dried chili flakes, parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Voila!

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For me this is the perfect lazy Sunday lunch when the man is not around. Hope you enjoy it too. Bon apetit!

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