(A little update here: Since this post has been in my draft, I had to add this before I posted.. for I am thrilled today. Michelle picked my Blueberry Gelato for the Host Award, DMBLGIT September 2009. Yaaaa:-D)
I waited all summer very very patiently, but at last my dreams came true.
Long before summer arrived, I had a pretty picture in my mind: few big bushes of basil in my home & me making fresh pesto with the basil in my garden which I would have grown so lovingly. The seeds came, so did the pots, pretty soon the little green heads showed up, which soon grew 2 little leaves. I would go & peak every single day. The Basil saplings were all very happy till they grew a few inches tall, then they revolted to the hot summer. I gave them a new corner in my home… I tended them, talked to them, but they just refused to grow.. anyway to cut the entire summer short, four of the plants survived & touch wood are doing pretty well. Few weeks back I saw enough green to make my dream a reality – the Pesto of course! Well here it is.
I would say the pesto is slightly unconventional; Feta Cheese, Walnut & Mint is what I have used here instead of the more common Parmesan & Pine nuts. The crushed pepper adds the side kick.
Ingredients: (makes about 1 cup)
- 2 Cups Fresh Basil leaves
- A Fistful of Fresh Mint leaves
- 3-4 Cloves of Garlic, Peeled
- 2 Tablespoons Crumbled Feta Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Walnut, lightly toasted (or Pine Nuts)
- 1/2 Cup Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed Lemon Juice (or to taste)
- Crushed Red Pepper, to taste
(If the walnut & garlic are not chopped, pulse then coarsely before adding the leaves & other ingredients.)
Combine Basil, Mint, Cheese, Walnut, Garlic & Salt in food processor & process while adding the olive oil in a steady stream. Stop the processor & scrape the sides if you need to. Process till everything is well combined & smooth.
Stir in the lemon juice, & the crushed pepper.
While this was kind of an experiment with whatever I had at home, I was pretty much pleased with it. Some fire & tang & yes a lot of flavor of course, after all it is home grown basil!!
I used the pesto to make some spaghetti on the same day, will post that sometimes later.
Note: Blanch the leaves before making the pesto. This helps maintain the bright green color. I forgot to blanch mine.
Storing the Pesto: The pesto can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.. long enough for next summer, right?