To say that I love pesto sauce is an understatement. I crave pesto. With fresh sweet basil from my garden, pesto is delicious. Here is a homemade blender pesto recipe and several recipes using pesto sauce in main dishes, pasta, soups, breads and stews.
Homemade Pesto Sauce: Basil is the main ingredient in pesto sauce. Pesto is best made with fresh picked garden basil. Basil comes in many varieties: the more common sweet basil as well as lemon basil, lime basil, Thai basil, licorice basil and cinnamon basil are relatively easy to find nurseries and grow. Each variety of basil tastes like the name implies. The variety you choose for pesto will depend upon your personal tastes. I prefer sweet basil (because it is readily available). Lemon or lime basil is also delicious.
In a blender or food processor, combine:
two packed cups fresh basil (trimmed and washed)
1/2 cup freshly shredded or grated Parmesan, Reggiano, Asiago or Romano cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
3 tablespoons fresh minced garlic or three garlic cloves
coarse ground pepper (to taste)
sea salt (to taste)
Blend until sauce is smooth, with small chunks.
Pesto bread: In bread machine (using basic white or whole wheat setting) substitute for water or milk, one half cup pesto sauce for a 16 ounce loaf of bread.
Pesto pasta: Prepare a one pound box of pasta (tri-color farfalle, piccolini or rotini). When pasta is still hot blend in one half to one cup pesto sauce and add half cup melted butter. Add one 12 ounce can cooked chicken if desired. Toss to coat.
Pesto Pizza: In place of marinara or tomato sauce, spread pizza crust with pesto sauce. Top with shredded Monterrey Jack or mozzarella cheese and arrange fresh sliced tomatoes and mushrooms on top.
Pesto chicken soup: Saute two chicken breasts, cubed, in butter. In a saucepan, combine one cup of pesto sauce, one large can chicken broth and cooked chicken. Add fresh chopped tomatoes upon serving. Top with Caesar or butter garlic croutons.
Grilled pesto chicken: Marinate chicken breasts in pesto sauce overnight. Grill chicken as you normally would. Serve topped with shredded mozzarella cheese.
For more yummy recipes, visit the linked blogs.