Happy holidays! It's that time of the year! The time for merry-making and gifting and getting together all served with a side of overindulgence in food, and buyers remorse. Oh and I know a thing or two about buyers remorse when it comes to groceries, since i buy duplicates every week of limes, or carrots, or tomatoes or even meat. Yeah, that would be me. And thanks to that very quirk I had 3 packages of fresh Basil (organic, mind you) sitting in the fridge waiting to pass away, and that's when it hit me… that it would be a crime to let that Basil go purposelessly.
Hello Pesto (with a little secret ingredient that makes the world of a difference!)
This Pesto is so versatile and vibrant you can add it to anything Italian really. Over a toasted piece of rustic bread with some tomatoes and fresh Mozzarella or with some shaved Parmesan or even with some slice cured meats. Drop a good spoonful into your home made marinara and elevate it to a whole new level.
These days Kale Walnut pesto is all the rage, but today we stick with the classics. Basil, Pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan and a good nutty olive oil... and the secret ingredient that brings it all together—Lime Juice!
You guys trust me, the Lime juice is key! It makes all the difference as it cuts through the richness of the Pesto and brightens up everything giving it a zing and making it feel alive!
Time to make Pesto!
Basil and Pine Nut Pesto Two Ways
Makes 1 1/2 cups
I large package fresh Basil (I chose organic. Washed and patted dry)
3-4 cloves of fresh Garlic (peeled)
3/4 cup good Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup Toasted Pine nuts
3/4 cup good Olive oil (I used single source Greek olive oil)
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp Lime juice (or more if needed)
1 ripe Tomato
2 slices of Proscuitto
Toast your Pine nuts in the oven for about 5-6 minutes at 300 degrees (this is where a small toaster oven comes really handy). If not you can toast them lightly in a small egg pan. Be watchful as they toast really fast and always keep moving them around.
Now just toss all your basil leaves (stems too) in a food processor, the peeled garlic, the shaved parmesan, olive oil, lime juice and salt, and pulse 8 to 10 times.
I like my Pesto chunky and coarse, but I made them mistake of over churning my batch (no real taste profile difference, only textural)
After overchurning it I thought man what a bummer, but then I tasted it.
Uuufff!! Questa Pesto di Basilico é incredible!
I went a bit Pesto cray cray, dipping everything in it, crackers, breadsticks, cheese-yeah cheese slices (don't judge till you try! ;), but it's real time to shine was on a beautifully toasted piece of rustic Umbria (you can use Ciabatta)
One bite and I was in heaven (or anywhere in Italy). The pesto tasted really refreshing, with the freshness of Basil coming through first and then the nutty aged Parmesan with the crunch of the toasted Pine Nuts, and the last note a subtle citrus brightens everything up, keeping it fresh and vibrant!
And kick it up another notch, I bought some feathery light Prosciutto and layered it on a bed of juicy ripe plum tomatoes and a generous serving of the pesto at the bottom. A bit of black pepper on top and you're good to go! Looks gorgeous too, talk about a perfect party food.
Happy 🎄⛄️🎅🏻🍪💥 Holidays everyone!