Tag Archives: focaccia

Pesto Party

26 Aug

Hello, hello! Is the weekend over already? I feel like Sunday rolls around and I always wonder where the time went…

Yesterday was all about food (more so than usual): I went to Trader Joe’s with Stefano after my morning workout and did a desperately needed grocery shop, which was evidenced by the fact that my receipt totaled almost $100!! Eeep. Guess that’s what happens when you wait two weeks to go grocery shopping. Get a load of this haul, though.

That’ll keep me going for probably another two weeks. If you get a glimpse of the basil containers on the right, you will see one of the main ingredients for the pesto party that Stefano and I had shortly after putting all the groceries away. Please also note the massive loaf of challah bread, which was the star attraction in some delicious French toast that we made for Sunday brunch.

Back to the pesto. Pesto has some of my favorite things in the world in it: basil, cheese, and olive oil. Everyone always seems to be so intimidated by it and always buy it pre-made at the store, but please read this post and know how easy it is to make at home. I promise, it tastes a million times better!!! All you need are these ingredients:

A proper pesto contains pine nuts and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, but if you are poor like me can’t find those, you can always substitute with walnuts and any other kind of hard, salty cheese (I picked up some Pecorino Romano from Costco). Some people use parsley or other greens instead of basil, but I personally don’t think pesto is worth eating unless it has basil. I usually make it and adjust the recipe according to how I’m feeling, but what I generally follow as a guideline is:

  • 2 cups, around 2-3 oz. fresh basil (don’t even both with dried basil, it’s useless)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (spring for extra-virgin)
  • 1/3 cup nuts (walnuts or pine nuts)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano, and Pecorino Romano are all good)
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled

Stefano grating away

I always start by sticking the garlic in the food processor and giving it a few pulses, so it gets minced and then adding the nuts to get those chopped up, as well. I really don’t follow any particular order, but I usually liked to add the basil and get that mixed in before adding the olive oil. One thing I do suggest is to add the olive oil in a consistent stream as the food processor is going. This ensures that you get a nice, smooth product at the end. After that’s nice and mixed, I stick in the cheese at the end.

Go, little food processor, go!

Taste as you go and feel free to tweak the amount of ingredients, depending on your preferences. We stuck three cloves of garlic in our first batch and that ended up being a little too strong, and we really like garlic. If you’re not a huge garlic fan, one clove might be enough. Just adjust the ingredients proportionally if you’re planning on making a big batch.

You can make extra and freeze it in an ice cube tray and then you have individual portions of pesto!

Of course, we had to test out our batch, so we grabbed some tomato basil focaccia that we picked up from Trader Joe’s, spread a layer of pesto on the inside, and added some slices of fresh mozzarella, before popping them in the toaster oven for a few minutes, to melt the cheese and toast the bread.

After they came out, we drizzled a little olive oil and vinegar on top and scarfed them right down. Unbelievable.

It was a successful pesto party and both of us now have Tupperwares of pesto in our freezer, waiting to be eaten. Please try this at home, I promise you that you will never be able to eat store-bought pesto again!

Wow, the time flies! It is getting late over here and it’s bedtime for me! I spent most of the evening over at Stefano’s, making him lunches and dinners to keep in the refrigerator, so he doesn’t have to worry about meal preparation this week. Hopefully this means he won’t be getting home from school at 8:30 PM like last week!

I hope everybody had a really enjoyable weekend. I look forward to telling you about my delicious Sunday French toast in tomorrow morning’s post. For now, good night!

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