Sunday, September 8, 2013

Basil and Spinach Pesto

I LOVE pesto.. it's so easy to make and so good to just toss in pasta, or coat potato chunks in and then bake in the oven, or to use as a spread for chicken panini's... I could go on and on about pesto. I know... it doesn't look too pretty in my picture... but it tastes delish! I had a beautiful Basil plant with tons of big leaves so I just had to do something with it!
They did a mix and match recipe in my Food Network magazine  with different things to add to Pesto... This was my favorite way. I like to use half Basil and half Baby Spinach... not such a strong Basil flavor and a good way to get Spinach in your diet.  I made a couple of batches of Pesto, then I drop it by the spoonfuls on a wax-paper lined cookie sheet and freeze it. Then I take the frozen pesto from the cookie sheet and store in freezer bags in my freezer. When I need it, I grab some out and thaw out in a dish then I use however I need to. YUM!

Basil and Spinach Pesto
1/3 cup Walnuts (can use Pine nuts but they are expensive and walnuts work in Pesto)
3 cups Basil and fresh Spinach (I use half of each)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (optional) I put in one batch I made and it was delicious! I used the kind packed in oil so I used a little less Olive oil

Directions:
First, toast walnuts in a dry skillet until lightly browned. Let cool slightly then pulse in a food processor until finely ground.
Add Basil and Spinach, along with the garlic, salt and cheese. Also add your sun dried tomatoes if you're going to use them. Pulse to combine.
Now slowly pour in the olive oil as you pulse your pesto. Use more or less oil, you want a slightly loose spreadable pesto.
Yum!! You'll have about 1 cup of pesto.... use about 1/2 cup per pound of pasta.
I've also made a chicken, grilled pepper and mozzarella panini sandwich with pesto as the spread.
And I've tossed cut up potatoes with a couple of spoonfuls of pesto then poured out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes and serve alongside grilled chicken or steak.
Also toss with spaghetti or fettuccine and add slices of grilled chicken!. Lots of things you can do with pesto
Enjoy!

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