My kitchen is a mess. Dishes, pots, and the food processor are coated with an oil slick of mushed up basil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.
It's all the basil's fault. I got a bag of the leafy green herb in my CSA this week and knew I had to make pesto.
I have never made pesto before but was first introduced to how delicious it could be in a pizza that I ate in Riomaggiore, the smallest of the five villages in Cinque Terre in Italy's Liguria region.
That was over 10 years ago and it took me until now to make it. Actually we've been getting bags of different herbs in almost each delivery and most of them have gone to the composting worms or in the trash after not using them in time.
So I made fresh basil pesto over pasta and served with a CSA salad of lettuce, cucumbers, and pine nuts (not from the CSA) tossed with a homemade dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and a clove of minced garlic.
I can't say that what I made tasted as good as it did in Italy, but it came close.
Basil, I forgive you.
Fresh Basil Pesto (adapted from Simply Recipes, another useful and wonderfully written food blog that I follow)
2 cups basil
1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 cloves garlic (I love garlic and added 4 cloves, and the garlic flavor really popped)
salt and pepper to taste
Put basil and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times (note: I pulsed quite a bit because it took awhile for the basil to start mixing up). Add garlic and pulse some more. Drizzle olive oil and pulse, stopping frequently to scrape mixture off the sides. Toss in the cheese and pulse a few more times until blended. I added a tiny bit of salt but didn't think it needed much salt and pepper at all. Serve over pasta.