Sometimes I wonder if I’m subconsciously trying to turn my husband into a vegetarian.
Oh, I doubt it could ever happen. He loves meat. And I don’t mind it either. But I SO prefer cooking when it doesn’t involve meat.
The slime. The bones. The fat. The (gulp)… gizzards. I would much rather bypass those raw steps if I had the choice.
So today I walked into our kitchen to decide what sounded good for a light Sunday lunch… I had lots of left-over French Bread, and three excessively huge basil bushes outside. Aha! Pesto. So easy. So perfect. So conveniently meat-free.
Everyone should know how to make this. It’s too good (and too EASY) to make your own… no need to buy a jar at the store. Trust me. A monkey could do it.
Gather up the simplest of simplicities.
Two or three huge handfulls of basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese, fresh garlic (divine, but optional), salt, pepper, and a little lemon juice.
Now select the carbohydrate of your choice. Pesto on grilled cheese? Outta this world. It’s also awesome in pasta… or as a sauce base for pizza (with sundried tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, YUM.)
Me? I went with an old standby, the carb I’d choose any day of the week every month of the year… BREAD. Chewy, hearty, home-made french bread to be exact.
Shall we begin?
You’ll need one of these babies… a mini-food processor. They are a kitchen must.
Now pick off the basil leaves and throw them in! I don’t concern myself much with whether the stems get thrown in as well… they’ll just blend right in.
Make sure you pack it in there a bit… you won’t believe how much this basil will shrink from start to finish.
Now sprinkle in a tiny pinch of salt. (You won’t need much since we’re also adding parmesan.)
Then sprinkle in a pinch of pepper. Like so.
Now add in a small clove of garlic, peeled. Next slice off a hunk of parmesan cheese (about one inch wide and two inches long.) And chunk it up into the bowl of your processor. You are also welcome to use canned, grated Parmesan. I will not tell.
*By the way, this recipe was enough for me and my husband. If you’re making it for a dinner party, you’ll want to adjust the quantities accordingly and use a larger food processor. But obviously, since none of my quantities are very exact… you’ll be eyeballing it either way. It’s a beautiful thing!
Click the lid onto the processor and pulse the ingredients until you see a rough chop. (It’ll sound like a massacre at first… because that parmesan cheese is so hard!)
Here it is after a few good pulses.
Once you’ve gotten it to this point… let it run and pulverize into a fine almost-paste.
See what I mean about the shrinkage? I wasn’t kidding!
Now if you have a food processor with a tube-like hole in the top… stream the oil in as the machine is running.
I don’t have that, so I just dumped my oil in while the machine was stopped.
Pulse it again to incorporate the oil… Then taste and see if any of the seasonings need adjusting. I usually like to add a few teaspoons of lemon juice at the end to brighten up the flavor. I would also add salt at this point, if any more is needed.
Then scrape every last delicious drop off the sides and lid of this bowl. Don’t let an ounce go to waste… its liquid bliss.
Time to unabashedly dig in!
And ok, I’ll admit my husband didn’t see this as a viable lunch. But he sure was a happy camper! He even compared himself to Jeffrey (Ina Garten’s husband. She’s always “surprising” Jeffrey with various treats on her Food Network show.) I’d say any recipe that gets my shoot-em-up-video-game-lovin’ husband to willingly compare himself with Jeffrey Garten is a winner.
And I know you’ll agree when you make it. By the way, here are a few of my favorite recipes to use this pesto in:
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