Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pesto, my favorite food

My favorite food: pesto pasta with shrimp

Pesto pasta with shrimp has been my favorite food for the majority of my life. It's what I asked for for every birthday dinner. I hold out every summer to have enough basil to make my own, and by combining some of my own with some from my CSA, I made some great pesto last night!

I use basil, garlic, romano cheese, pine nuts, lemon juice, and olive oil in my pesto. You could use a different nut or a different cheese if you'd like.

Basil for the pesto: mine on the left, farm share on the right
Most of the ingredients ready to go 
I'm not going to write out the recipe as a list because I kinda eyeball the amounts. They vary by taste, so it's up to you. First wash and dry the basil and put it into the food processor. It's going to shrink A LOT, so I used my miniature food processor for this amount of basil. Chop the basil into tiny pieces using the food processor. Add shredded romano cheese (or another type of cheese if you prefer), minced garlic (I used a GIANT clove that probably amounts to three normal cloves, but that was a little much), a handful of pine nuts (or another nut if you want), and about a teaspoon of lemon juice. Chop that in the food processor, then slowly add in olive oil until the consistency is right. Add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
Basil into the mini food processor first, then cheese, pine nuts,
and minced garlic 
Ready to blend--see the basil already chopped in the bottom?
Adding olive oil to the final pesto 
The other great thing is that pesto is easy to store in the freezer! And if you have fun ice cube trays, it's even more exciting. I made my pesto and put the extra into my little fish-shaped ice cube tray, so now I have pesto fish waiting for me in a ziplock bag in the freezer for future use!
Pesto fish ready to go in the freezer!
Ready to use for future use--I'll either thaw them out, or if
I'm using the pesto on pasta again, I'll toss them straight on
to hot pasta tossed with a bit of olive oil.
You can use your pesto in many ways--on pasta, mixed with a little mayo as a sandwich spread, mixed into some more oil and vinegar as a salad dressing, on top of meats, or spread on bread before toasting in the oven (like garlic bread+basil).

Do you have other uses for pesto? Add them as comments here!


  1. What cheeses can we use as an alternative? I've never heard of romano cheese.

  2. Hi Maryam, you could also use any other strong Italian cheese. Romano should be in any grocery store in the cheese section (and also in the spaghetti sauce aisle where the little canister shakers are--there's usually parmesan or romano--usually parmesan has a green lid and romano has a red lid, at least for Kraft). If you don't want to use/can't find romano, parmesan or asiago would also work. I'm allergic to cow's milkfat, so I can't eat parmesan or asiago anyway. Romano cheese comes from sheep.