Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Lemon Basil Pesto


For my new followers, you'll begin to see that lemon and basil are some of the ingredients that will make appearances quite often here on my blog.  Because I do so luuurve them.  There's just something fresh and amazing about those two flavours and when you combine them?  Blam!  Gastronomical nirvana. 

If you're lucky, your basil plant is doing well this summer.  I'm not in that group of rare people (my plant looks pathetic this year) but I did manage to have a hearty crop last year.  Yup.  This is an old recipe (and pictures) from last year that I've been holding out on.

You'll forgive me when you quickly whip this nut-free pesto up in your kitchens.  I love it over a log of goat cheese but put a bit with some hot pasta and grilled veggies and man-oh-man it is really good!

 
See!
 
This pesto (as well as my Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Pesto) don't contain pine nuts.  This is due to severe peanut allergies in our family. Since pine nuts are closely related, and there's a high risk of reaction, we just leave them out. Pesto is amazing but not so amazing that you want to stab someone with an Epi-pen and take a trip to the hospital for a couple of days.  So really, this 'pesto' is more of a 'pistou' (nut-free pesto) but for the sake of clarity I'm calling it a pesto.
 
This recipe makes a fair bit and in order to have a taste of summer on those dreary winter days (or to help with fresh basil shortages!) I like to freeze this pesto.  You can use ice cube trays or a melon baller and place the balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Freeze for a few hours then place the cubes/balls of pesto into a Ziploc freezer bag and voila!  Garden fresh pesto whenever you want it!
 
 
Here's hoping that this hot summer weather stays with us for a bit more.  Maybe it will put some life into my wee basil plant so I can whip up some pesto for this upcoming winter!  Enjoy!
 
Lemon Basil Pesto
 
3 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (the bottled 'lemon juice' will not do!)
2/3 cup olive or grapeseed oil

Place basil leaves, garlic, Parmesan and lemon juice in a food processor.  Blend while slowly pouring the olive oil into the food processor as it's running.  Process until smooth or the consistency you'd like.

Use immediately, refrigerate for a couple of days or freeze as per the instructions above. 

Uses: over fresh pasta with grilled veggies, over a log of cream or goat cheese to serve with crackers, spread thinly on Panini sandwiches, put inside chicken breasts with brie cheese ...

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