Friday, July 27, 2012

Pesto & Pasta

My basil plants have been so beautiful this summer. I planted them in over-sized pots on the patio to be sure they were well cared for in our Louisiana heat. Such a gorgeous green color, basil. It speaks to me when I pass by it. So one evening last week it whispered, Pesto.  I took the suggestion and assembled my ingredients for a sumptuous pasta dinner. I actually prefer walnuts to pine nuts and I had a new wedge of Asiago (which I adore) so I made Basil Pesto with Walnuts and Asiago served over my favorite pasta, Linguine. 

Ingredients in the blender bowl

Basil Pesto

2 cups freshly picked basil
2 or 3 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 cup walnut halves
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/2 to 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper
Juice of 1/2 lemon
More Asiago for topping

After picking the basil, rinse in a bowl of cool water before picking the leaves from the stalk. Just swish them in the water. Do this a couple of times with fresh clean water each time to insure the basil is squeaky clean. Remove the leaves and measure out 2 cups. Dry on clean kitchen towels and add to the bowl of a blender or food processor. Add the garlic cloves, walnut halves and grated cheese. While the blender is running at the lowest speed, drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the blender bowl a couple of times, then proceed. When the consistency becomes rather liquidy, stop adding the oil if you have any left. 

Note: Pesto making has no real hard and fast rules. Use your own taste and good judgement to create your very own.

Salt to taste and add a pinch of black pepper along with the lemon juice. Cook linguine or whatever pasta you love, drain in a colander and place in a mixing bowl. Immediately add the fresh pesto to the pasta and toss to coat well. Serve up with an extra grating of cheese if you like. It's a delicious bite of summer on a plate.

Linguine with Basil Pesto & Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

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