Friday, July 29, 2011

The Food Processor Gets a Workout Day 3: Basil Pesto

For weeks, my basil plants were being suffocated by my zucchini plant, whose broad leaves blocked the little basil from reaching the sun.  My dad removed the Wisteria vine that was also threatening to take over our backyard and we had a nice little empty plot of land.  I debating whether or not I should relocate my basil plants and my mint plant (which is still in the pot for fear of it taking over my backyard as well) to this little plot of land.  I was pretty nervous about doing so because (a) it was not protected from the groundhog by a wire fence and (b) was in direct sunlight for most of the day, making the ground very dry.  I decided to go ahead and try it anyway, but during that first week some of the leaves on the basil plant were starting to wither and I was nervous that this plot wasn't going to work.  This past week, however, the basil seemed to shoot up about a foot and I finally have enough to make some pesto.

Oh so back to the groundhog...remember the first post about my poor plants being eaten before they were even planted in the ground?  Well my dad thought he had fixed the groundhog problem for good not only with the chicken wire fence we put up around our vegetables but the chicken wire patches he put underneath our fence.  A couple mornings ago, I woke up pretty early and saw Shadow standing at alert in my parents' room, nose pointed towards the window.  Anyone seen the movie "Up" when the dogs all go "POINT!"?  That's what Shadow looked like.  I looked outside to see a fat little groundhog scurrying across the lawn.  I started yelling and Shadow started barking and the thing took off back across the yard and underneath the fence.  I thought that after that my basil plants would be history but the fat little thing hasn't been back since! Ha!

Like salsa, I feel like everyone has their own favorite variation of pesto.  My favorite was pesto mayonnaise - I discovered it in college when my friend and I went to a cafe for lunch and she ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with pesto mayo.  So delicious!!  It was so simple too - a grilled cheese with red onion, tomato, and two or three different types of cheese slathered in pesto mayo.  I will certainly be making that sandwich now that I have my own pesto (and with my food processor I can even make my own mayo!).

This recipe was incredibly simple: pesto, garlic, some oil, and some salt all in the food processor.  I know that pine nuts are a staple in many pestos, but I'm not really a fan...

There are so many different things you can do with pesto - put it on pasta, on garlic bread, on meat or chicken, on pizza, the possibilities are endless!  And as always, fresh pesto (like the salsa) is so much more delicious than anything you can buy at the store.  And it's so incredibly easy to make!  I would definitely recommend doubling the recipe if you plan to use this pesto on pasta or pizza, since it will only make about 1 cup.  I hope I'm soon overrun by basil so I can continue to make pesto throughout the summer.

Add olive oil slowly through one of the
holes in the cover of the food processor
Makes about 1 cup
Ali B original

- 2 c basil, packed
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt, to taste

Add basil and garlic to food processor and pulse until the leaves and garlic are minced.  Add the olive oil through one of the holes in the cover of the food processor 1 tbsp at a time until the pesto becomes creamy and runs down the sides of the food processor bowl.  Add salt to taste.  Store in fridge.  

Tips for using your food processor
- Don't hold down the chop or grind button, pulse it instead.  If you hold down the button and keep the motor running for too long at a time that little motor will burn out quickly.  


  1. Those food processors are a must!! They can be so useful in many things. Your pesto recipe sounds very good. I like using pesto in pasta.

    1. Thank you! I'm getting a lot of use out of this food processor - it's definitely well worth the investment!


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