January 31, 2011

Vita-mix pesto

Posted in appetizers, sauces tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:30 pm by Jordan

I originally learned to make pesto using the recipe in the Vita-mix cookbook (a Vita-mix is I high-power blender, seen in the picture above). I read more about it in a book titled Pesto, and found that it’s not a science in the least. So now I make it like this…

1-2 cups of herbs – whatever is available! Basil is thought of first, parsley is a good filler, use about 1/4 cup with basil. I’ve used a mixture of Cilantro and Parsley, and my sister’s favorite is basil with a couple Tablespoons of Rosemary. You can also add other greens (lettuce, chard, etc) as filler, particularly when using very strong tasting herbs that need to be mellowed (cilantro, Rosemary, etc.) Oregano is a wonderful addition to Basil pesto.

1 cup of nuts. Pine nuts are traditional, and work best because of their high oil content. Walnuts (my personal favorite) are a close second for the same reason. You can also use pecans, almonds, or any other nuts, really. Just be aware that ‘crispy nuts’ (roasted or Nourishing Traditions recipe) will be chunky, rather than adding to the creaminess of the sauce.

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese or sesame seeds. The seeds are a great substitute for Parmesan cheese (ground in a coffee grinder, you can use it just like the powdered cheese – for pesto, you can use whole seeds). The only difference we’ve noticed in the pesto is that when we use real cheese, we don’t add as much salt as we do with the seeds.

Garlic to taste! The batch pictured above uses 3-4 cloves of a native variety. It was SO good!

A couple Tablespoons of lemon juice (optional because I often forget!)

Place all of the above ingredients into the Vita-mix, roughly in order (greens first, nuts next, everything else after that). Pour olive oil over that until you can see that it’s made it way to the bottom (about 1/2 cup, maybe?). Put the black part of the lid on, leaving off the clear part so you can continue to add oil. Start the Vita-mix on Variable 1 and slowly turn up to about five. Add olive oil as needed to keep things moving. When it’s moving nicely, you can stop adding for a thicker consistency, but I usually add more if we’re not planning on using it as a spread (thinner is better for uses like pasta sauce). Continue blending on a medium Variable speed until it looks good to you! (some people like it creamier than others).