Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mortar and "Pesto"

I don't know about you, but I have a mild obsession with pesto!  Seriously though...on bread, on pasta, as a marinade...the list could go on and on.  Because I crave it almost on a weekly basis, I usually end up buying those jars at the grocery store that "claim" to be pesto for a quick fix.  Sure the labels says it is, but after you've made this recipe, you will forever be a pesto snob!  I've made this recipe in a blender before, but if you have a mortar and pestle, please use it!  The process of making it definitely requires a little extra elbow grease with the mortar and pestle, but I promise it's worth it.  Did you know that the stainless steel blade in the blender actually neutralizes the flavor of the garlic?  Who wants that?!  Not this girl.  Do it the old fashioned way, and it will forever change your view of pesto!

If you don't have a mortar and pestle, it's a pretty cool gift to ask for on your birthday or Christmas because it's a splurge item that you might not necessarily buy for yourself.  In addition to pesto, its great for mashing guacamole or muddling mint and lime for mojitos.  Hmmm, I spy I a Mexican dinner night blog post in the works...

The ingredients are standard to any pesto recipe: basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan, salt and pepper.  The secret ingredient in my recipe is a few baby spinach leaves.  I'm not adding them for any nutritional purpose, but to keep the color of the pesto nice and bright green.  You can definitely do the recipe without the spinach, but the basil tends to turn a slightly brownish-green if you leave it out.  It will still taste exactly the same, though, so don't stress if you don't have any on hand, or don't want to spend $3-4 dollars for a few leaves.  My suggestion: have salad with whatever you make to justify the purchase!

Be prepared: Mashing the pesto will take a good 10 minutes.  Howie and I had to tag team because our arms were getting tired.  On the plus side, it's sort of a workout?  We had fun making it!

And voila!  You have a beautiful bowl of pesto when you're done to add to pasta, pizza, sandwiches, and poultry!  My next blog post will show you what dish we created with our pesto.  It sure was good!

What's your favorite use for pesto?  Post me your ideas in the comments section; I'm always looking to try new recipes, and the best way to learn is from others!

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