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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cooking: What To Do With Leftover Basil -- Super Easy Walnut Pesto

I recently bought a bunch of fresh basil to have some Caprese salad but there's only so much basil I can have. So once the buffalo mozzarella or heirloom tomatoes ran out, I was stuck with these super fragrant basil leaves.

I'm usually not a huge fan of pesto unless it's served in small doses as a sauce of some kind to fish or meats. So I took matters into my own hands and concocted my own. I didn't really measure anything. I don't think you need to. Just took the thick stems off of the basil and placed them in a food processor that has a lid with an opening to pour the olive oil into once it starts running. Then I added some garlic, pecans (never seen this done but I had had walnut pesto so figured it'd be ok -- you could probably substitute with almonds or of course, the OG, pine nuts) and grated Parmesan cheese. I turned the switch on and as it went, I slowly added the olive oil through the lid with the opening until I saw a creamy consistency. Then I seasoned it to taste, added fresh lemon juice to get rid of the heavy oil smell that was a turnoff for me and a whiff of agave that I probably shouldn't have added. Finished it off with freshly ground pepper and it was good to go. Oh, I also added some cayenne pepper for some kick and it was barely noticeable but added an interesting layer of flavor.

I tried to recreate one of the few pesto pasta dishes that I will eat -- from all places, a tiny hole in the wall in downtown Seoul called Pomodoro (no relation to the local chain here). It used to serve pesto with prawns and spaghetti. I browned some cut-up shrimp and added the prepared pesto while the pasta was cooking. Once pasta was almost done (after about 9 minutes for spaghetti), I strained it and added the pasta to the pan with the shrimp pesto -- smothered it and presto (no pun intended). Bon appetito~

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