Thursday, October 21, 2010

My favorite homemade condiment...

…would have to be semi-pesto. I am fortunate that my husband the gardener grows basil, and in a good year we have enough that I can process and freeze enough to hold us through the winter in addition to many batches of pesto for immediate consumption.

To make pesto, of course, you combine basil, nuts (classically, pine nuts, but walnuts are fine too), garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil -– classically, with a mortar and pestle, but the Cuisinart is my utensil of choice. To serve on pasta or vegetables, thin the pesto down with some of the hot cooking water.

What I call semi-pesto omits all the ingredients that might go rancid, leaving only the basil and the olive oil. I process this down to a puree, pack it into half-cup tupperwares, make a nice smooth surface and pour a little more olive oil on top to seal it. Most of it goes into the freezer, where it will keep for years, and one pack at a time stays in the fridge to be used a spoonful at a time.

Here are some of the ways to use semi-pesto to add flavor:
  • Stir into soup or any tomato-based sauce.
  • Add to omelet or quiche.
  • Add to mayonnaise or butter, to use on bread, vegetables, fish, etc.
  • Spread on bread instead of butter.
  • Combine with cream cheese or ricotta for a dip or spread.
  • Add to salad dressing.
And of course, you can add the garlic, nuts and cheese to make full pesto.  If you don't have enough for your dinner, augment with parsley.

No comments:

Post a Comment