Sunday, May 17, 2009

Yummy Things From my Backyard: Pesto!

Hola peeps!

So where were we? Oh yeah! I was telling you all about how you should plant a garden. Even if it's only in some pots on your balcony. Plant a garden! And then make yummy things with the fruits of your labour.

Case in point? Pesto! Starring the following cast of characters:

It's very simple really - all you need is some basil, garlic, olive oil, and pine nuts! My mom and I made this pesto last summer long before my days of food blogging. Funny thing is while making this recipe I said to my mom "We should be food bloggers!" lol :oP So we took pictures of the process.

None of what follows has exact measurements attached. Basically you should do everything to taste. The quantities that you see were used for the massive amount of basil in the metal bowl above.

First start by taking a healthy amount of pine nuts and toasting them over low heat. At the beginning they should look like this:

When you're done toasting the pine nuts should more or less look like this:

Don't forget to stir the pine nuts often so they won't burn! :o)

Now pine nuts may be a new ingredient for some of you but I promise they're an essential ingredient in traditional pesto and will add a lovely texture to your finished product. Having said that if you can't find them or decide not to use them (did I mention they're somewhat pricey?) then I'm sure your pesto will still taste lovely without them! In theory, I'm sure you could even substitute your pine nuts with other toasted nuts - I hear almonds and walnuts work well.

Put your pine nuts to the side and allow to cool. While that's going on take some raw garlic cloves and process them in your food processor. For our massive pile of basil we used several cloves:

Then put all your pesto in to your food processor and whirl away! This would be the before picture:

Once everything is all processed add the pine nuts to your food processor:

Now this is the part where the olive oil comes into play. If you were just to leave the mixture dry it would not even come close to resembling pesto. So this is what you do - while the mixture is processing pour a steady stream of olive oil into the food processor.

Yes, this will resemble a bit of a free pour but really you just want the oil to emulsify the ingredients (i.e.: bring them all together into a happy happy mixture). It may help you to remember that although it may seem like you're using a lot of oil at this point, you'll use the pesto sparingly while cooking. A little goes a long way! :o)

All of our ingredients made a TON of pesto - we packed the pesto up into little bags and refrigerated some and froze the rest for later use:

When you're finally ready to use your pesto don't forget to add some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and enjoy!

I highly recommend pesto on pasta, on top of oven baked salmon, with oven roasted veggies, the list goes on and on! :o)

Oh and I can't finish this post without giving a shout out to my mom without whom this pesto making experiment would not have been possible. I can't wait until I go to Toronto again (in late August!). I'm going to love making yummy eats with my foodie parents and documenting it for you lovelies to see!

Hasta luego!!!!


Anonymous said...

That looks awesome - I love the idea if making a huge batch so freeze for later.

Sharon said...

oh wow, I totally love it! And the green color is so pretty too!!

A Toronto girl out West said...


Yeah you should try it sometime! Even if it is only in small doses! :o)

Hope your long weekend is going well!!


lol Now you know what I used my pine nuts for! :o)

Oh what comes out of my crazy kitchen experiments with my mom!

Anonymous said...

Costco is totally the way to go to get pine nuts - best price by a long shot! Makes the whole pesto making experience alot easier on the wallet.

Now if only I had access to a mass quantity of basil...

Kristan Anne said...

Look at all that pesto! I'm so jealous. It makes me want to run out and buy a basil plant or two right now!

Andrea (Off Her Cork) said...

Love love love pesto! I do one with spinach and sundried tomatoes. So good!

Erin said...

Those are some beautiful green baggies.

Try pesto on toasted whole grain bread. It's a smash.

A Toronto girl out West said...


Oh I agree with you completely. I once bought a bag of pine nuts at Thrifty's and almost died!!! lol At the checkout that is.

Kristan Anne,

Good good! :o) Then my post worked!!


Does the spinach one taste really similar?


YUM! I'm picture some bread grilled on a summer bbq with the pesto on top. Delicious!!!!!!