Isn’t it amazing when the leafy greens come in, it is with abundance !! And pesto is a condiment (isn’t it?) with so many differing uses. So why not preserve some of that arugula or instead of drying herbs, make pesto….it is like preserving summer greens.
Now back to all those ways to use pesto. Of course, there is pesto & pasta, but have you tried pesto with eggs, hummus, cheese & crackers, just about any sandwich instead of lettuce (try a peach grilled cheese & arugula pesto), in cold salads, in a vinagarette, on grilled meats, instead of pizza sauce, dolloped on soup, tossed on veggies….and the list goes on & on.
Needless to say there is always a jar of Basil Pesto or my stand-by Cilantro Pesto (from Bobby Flay) in the fridge. This year I have a plethora of herbs and lots of greens, so I experimented with Arugula Pesto and Five-Herb Pesto. (which came from 101 Kitchens) Wow, talk about flavor…..these are really good !! Anybody ever heard of Swiss Chard Pesto or Spinach Pesto ??
Depending upon how the pesto will be used, I have been known to stir in additional items to small quantities of whatever flavor pesto I’m using. Like, add a minced jalapeno or serrano to cilantro pestro when serving with cheese & crackers. Stir in chopped walnuts or pecans, too. Adding some chunky chopped nuts of any type is great with grilled or sauted veggies. I got the idea from Whole Foods who sold a cilantro walnut jalapeno pesto that was really marvelous.
BASICS of MAKING PESTO
In all cases, add all ingredients except the olive oil to a food processor and pulse until you get the consistency you want. With food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until you have a smooth paste. I like the cilantro pesto creamy, but the arugula pesto very finely minced. Salt & pepper to taste. The flavor is enhanced if served at room temperature. Store in fridge for 30-60 days, or freeze for up to a year.
CILANTRO PESTO (from Bobby Flay)
- 3/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/4 cup parsley leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
ARUGULA PESTO (from Epicurious)
- 4 cups (packed) arugula leaves (about 6 ounces), blanched if preferred
- 1/2 cup raw almonds (or 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted)
- 1/4 cup (packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1/4 cup olive oil
FIVE HERB PESTO (from 101 Cookbooks)
- 50 medium basil leaves
- handful of arugula leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves (I used more)
- 1/4 cup minced chives (I also added in some fresh parsley leaves)
- 1/4 cup raw almonds
- 1 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup Pecorino cheese, grated
- lemon zest
- ground coriander
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil