This outstanding Basil Peso with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Almonds recipe and photo were shared with my by Karen Calanchini, Food
Stylist and Photographer, of Redding, CA.
Karen says, "If you grow basil in your garden or can obtain it at a Farmer's Market, make some
homemade pesto. It is far superior to the commercial type in the markets. It
takes a few minutes to make it and it also freezes beautifully."
Basil, Lemon, and Macadamia Nut Pesto
Yields: makes 1 cup
Prep time: 15 min
2 tightly-packed cups fresh
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh chives
1/2 cup Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin
1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed
1/4 cup Macadamia nuts, rough chopped
salt and freshly-ground
pepper, to taste
* The fresh lemon juice helps keep the green color in the pesto.
Wash the basil leaves, discard the stems, and dry thoroughly. Also peel off any thick spines from any larger basil leaves.
Place all ingredients into a food processor; whirl until completely chopped and forms a smooth consistency.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and pulse a few more times. Taste again and adjust seasonings, if needed.
Serve any extra pesto in a dish on the side. Your guests may want additional pesto on their tomatoes.
Pesto can also be used on pasta, in soups, on sandwiches - just use your imagination.
Makes 1 cup pesto.
Pesto will keep for up to 4 weeks in a
covered container in the refrigerator. Pour a thin film of olive oil on top of the pesto
to prevent discoloration. For longer storage, do not add the Parmesan cheese until ready
to use. Below are some ideas on how to freeze pesto.
Press plastic wrap against the surface of
the pesto to minimize any exposure to air and subsequent browning.
Refrigerate, tightly covered, for up to two weeks. Before using, leave at
room temperature for about 15 minutes.
Spoon the pesto into a foil-lined custard
cup; cover tightly with foil and freeze. Once frozen, remove the foil-wrapped packet and
store in a freezer bag for up to 2 to 3 months. To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight,
or remove from the foil and thaw quickly in the microwave. Add Parmesan cheese just before
Freeze in ice cube trays. I
like to spray an ice cube tray with non-stick spray and fill each space with
the pesto When frozen, remove each cube to a freezer bag. You will be able
to take out as many of the pesto cubes as your need. Usually one (1) cube is
enough for adding flavor a red pasta sauce or a pot of soup.