Make Homemade Pesto

BasilPesto

“BasilPesto” by Ɱ – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:BasilPesto.JPG#/media/File:BasilPesto.JPG

Pesto is an easy and delicious sauce featured in many flavorful dishes. Traditionally, pesto consists of basil (lots of it) olive oil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and pine nuts. However, many variations exist. Pesto originates from Northern Italy, but other cultures and styles of cuisine have taken their own spin on it. For instance, rather than basil, you might consider using another herb, such as cilantro, for a Mexican flair. Add seeded and finely chopped jalapenos for a spicy kick. Substitute almonds or walnuts for pine nuts. Get creative!

Already thinking about chowing down? Pesto is frequently used as a pasta sauce, but it can also be added to minestrone or mashed potatoes, drizzled on grilled chicken or steak, or used as a pizza sauce or sandwich condiment  — the options are only limited by your imagination!

Perhaps the best part? Pesto is so easy to make! Follow the traditional recipe below (adapted from simplyrecipes.com) or mastermind your own riff on a classic. If you do not own a food processor, the recipe can also be made in a blender.

  • 2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves, Packed
  • 1/2 Cup Freshly Grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese (about 2 oz)
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Pine Nuts
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper To Taste
  • Place washed and dried basil leaves, then all other ingredients (except for oil), in food processor or blender.
  • Pulse several times until well combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape sides.
  • Add a steady stream of oil to mixture and continue blending. Continue until all ingredients are well combined into a homogeneous mixture.

Your person may enjoy smelling the aromatic ingredients (e.g. herbs, garlic) and will love eating the finished product with you. Ask your person to wash and pat dry the herbs, grate the cheese, or encourage him/her to sit nearby and watch as you go through the preparations. Be alert to the possibility of frustration or boredom. Be prepared to modify or end the activity, if your person is becoming too agitated or overwhelmed.

Mangia! Mangia! 🙂

 

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