I love pesto. I usually go through one of those Buitoni cartons of it every two weeks. I love it on eggs, pasta, pizza, pita bread…pretty much anything. There is something extremely satisfying about the combination of flavors in it, and I really never get tired of it.
I always hear people talking about homemaking it but I was honestly too lazy to ever try it. Until today! Today (being roomie Wednesday) called for something special, and I knew that I had to make pesto from scratch, using my beloved food processor. Being someone who can’t stop at something as simple as fresh homemade pesto, I felt the need to take it further. And so, I made pesto two ways: regular and creamy (dieters beware). I absolutely loved the fresh regular pesto, it was lighter than the store bought kind and extremely easy to tweak to my specific taste. The creamy pesto was delicious as well, and I used it to top the stuffed shells I will be blogging about later.
If I had to choose, I would definitely stick to the regular pesto, and break out the creamy only for special occasions. Physically making the cream sauce made me realize how much less healthy it is than the regular kind which is something I have honestly (yes, really) been trying to be more conscious of. Regardless of health, it was the perfect sauce for the stuffed shells, which you will see later.
And so, here it goes.
Pesto Sauce Two Ways
For the basic pesto
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup Romano cheese
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
For the creamy pesto
- the above ingredients, and:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup Asiago cheese
Start with the regular pesto. This is so easy that I can’t believe I haven’t done it before now. Take the 2 cups basil leaves and 1/2 cup pine nuts and put them in a food processor. Pulse a few times. Add the garlic and pulse a few more times until blended.
Add the cheese and blend until it is mixed in. As we established, cheese is great, and no dish is good without it. Add the pepper as well.
Next, while the food processor is running (on low) slowly stream the olive oil in until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. You’re done (with the regular pesto at least)!!! I was literally eating this plain out of the food processor, it was that good.
Next, for the creamy pesto. Melt the butter in a saucepan, and add the flour to make a paste.
Add the milk and the cream to the pan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Let the mixture simmer for about ten minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Stir in the cheese.
When the cheese is melted in, stir the pesto into the cream mixture until it is completely combined. Remove from heat and serve over the pasta of your choice! Unfortunately, this is where it gets bad. I got too frazzled with my elaborate dinner plans and forgot to get a picture of the finished creamy pesto. I’ll be posting the stuffed shells so you can see it!