Monday, October 6, 2008

Delicious Pesto

There was a mad rush this week to get basil from the farm share before the frost hit and all the plants turned brown and unfortunate. I'm not entirely sure of the basil variety they plant, but the leaves are smaller than grocery-store basil, and it smells spicier. I will update this post with the varietal information at a later date. What's more important is that making pesto was a moral imperative, but whenever I use raw garlic (as most recipes call for) the pesto always turns out much too strong and sharp.

The solution: Roasted Garlic Pesto

Step 1. Roast a whole head of garlic ala Warren Ellis (He writes like my Papa, which is disturbing. Even more so, he seems to follow the same hard road in cooking -- so ignore him about scraping yourself bloody trying to peel sweet potatoes. One day, someone brave will tell him that the right way to make sweet-potato mash is to boil the potatoes first, quench them in ice water, and then rub the skins off). I used Otter Creek Copper Ale as my beer of choice. Nice and sweet. I wanted my garlic in between sweet and sharp, so I only roasted it for 30min on 400F.

Step 2. Clean and pack 2c fresh basil into a food processor.

Step 3. Add 1/2c of EVOO - use a tasty variety. I like to use Trader Joe's California Estates Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, in the black bottle. Ask for it by name.

Step 4. Add 1/2c+ of grated Parmesan.

Step 5. Add a double-handful (1/3c) of pine nuts.

Step 6. Add salt and pepper (a pinch of each), or forget to add the salt and pepper like I did, and add it as a garnish later on. If nothing else, it gives you an excuse to summon Heavy Metal Guy.

Step 7. Add the roasted garlic.

Step 8. Q: Will it blend? A: Yes it will.

Step 9. Sever over pasta with fresh tomatoes.

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