Thursday, August 23, 2012

Roasted Garlic Basil Pesto

I had a large harvest of basil to use up.  My favorite way to preserve basil is to make a batch of pesto.  This year I tried something new.  I roasted the garlic first.  It made for a more mellow pesto that tastes delicious!  It's perfect for spreading on bread for a sandwich or French bread for an appetizer or tossing with pasta for a quick dinner.   

I froze this recipe into 2 batches.  Since I was freezing it, I omitted the lemon juice and parmesan cheese.  I'll add that after I defrost it and am ready to use it.  Enjoy!

Roasted Garlic Basil Pesto
Yields 1 and 1/4 cups (about 8-10 servings)

1 head of garlic
2 tsp. olive oil (for roasting garlic)
4 c. fresh basil leaves, packed down
1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. toasted pine nuts
1/4 - 1/2 c. parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper
juice of 1/2 of a lemon

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2) Cut of the top 1/3 of the garlic head, place on a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with 2 tsp. of olive oil.  Wrap foil around the garlic and bake in the oven for about 1 hour.  The garlic should be extremely soft and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle.

3) Once cool, squeeze the garlic out of the paper skin into a blender or food processor.  Add half the basil, half the extra virgin olive oil and half the pine nuts.  Pulse until blended.  Add the other half of the basil, extra virgin olive oil and pine nuts.  Repeat pulsing until the pesto is well blended.

4) Pour the pesto into a bowl and add salt and pepper to taste.  (If you are freezing the pesto, you can do so now.  When ready to use, defrost and add parmesan cheese and lemon juice.)  If using the pesto now, add the parmesan cheese and lemon juice.  Mix well.  Adjust seasoning as needed.

Serve on pasta (reserve about 1 cup of pasta water after cooking the pasta to thin out the sauce and help the pesto stick to the pasta; add a little bit of pasta water at a time to desired consistency) or serve on toasted French bread as an appetizer or use as a sandwich spread.

**Linking up to Robin's Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard at The Gardener of Eden**


Robin said...

This pesto sounds wonderful! I have never made pesto with roasted garlic....yum!!

Linda said...

Sounds good. I wanna try your recipe.