Monday, May 27, 2013

Pesto Sauce (Traditional and Vegan recipes)

Pesto Sauce

This posting is inspired by shopping seasonally.  It's basil season in Southern California!  Now is the perfect time to stock up and make pesto sauce.  Make sure you smell your basil, as not all varieties are created equal.  I had my boyfriend smell the differences at the farmer's market in Torrance on the weekend.  Try to find Italian/Sweet or Genovese basil - these are the two best varieties for pesto, and Italian meals such as pasta or pizza.

I love pesto.  You can use it to make pasta, use it to dress up your rice, spread it on a tortilla and bake to make a quick flatbread, or use it as a base for pizza.  There are more options - be creative!

Traditional Pesto
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 C pine nuts
1 C fresh basil, packed
3/4 C Parmesan cheese
3/4 C Extra-virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Vegan Pesto
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 C pine nuts
1 C fresh basil, packed
3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/3 C + 1 Tbsp Extra-virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. In food processor, create a paste out of nuts and garlic by pulsing together.
2. Add S&P to taste.
3. Add Parmesan cheese/Nutritional yeast, and mix using the pulse button.
4. Add all basil, and pulse.  Mixture will be dry until you add oil.
5. While keeping lid on, slowly drizzle olive oil as you keep food processor in "on" position.  Sauce will form as enough oil is added.
6. Use fresh, or freeze pesto sauce in ice cube trays.  Cover ice cube tray with plastic wrap, freeze for ~1 day.  Then quickly pop out cubes, toss into Ziploc and keep in freezer.  For pasta meals, remove several cubes, defrost in large bowl, cook pasta and add directly on top.  Toss and serve!

>I've made pesto with blanched almonds.  Since they're a firmer nut than pine nuts, soak the almonds for a minimum of one hour (20 minutes in a pinch, but longer is better).  Pine nuts are more flavorful.
>Galaxy Nutritional Foods' Vegan Parmesan cheese is absolutely delicious.  This can substitute for Parmesan in the Traditional recipe.

How to Blanch Almonds
Ideally, your nuts in pesto should be skinless.  To blanch almonds, boil water, toss almonds in for 2-3 minutes after water boils.  Drain nuts, cool in strainer, and pop nuts out of skins when cool enough to handle.  Watch out...they have a tendency to fly across rooms!

1 comment:

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