Presto…PESTO

By Phyllis Odessey

When I am in the mood for a quick delicious meal, I always go back to an old standby:  Pesto.  It’s easy and used to be inexpensive until pine nuts (pignolas) became so expensive.  Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pines.  Although we call them nuts, a pignola is a seed.  We made pesto with the kids in The Learning Garden using XOXO chopper.  Knives and kids don’t mix.  We found the small chopper does the trick .  No need for a cusinart or blender.
Randall’s Island
TRADITIONAL PESTO:

2 cups basil leaves (young, small leaves preferred)
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts
3/4 Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
3-4 Tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by chopping the basil leaves.  Mince the Garlic.
Chop the pine nuts.
Add the above together
Mix all the above ingredients together, add olive oil.

What if you want to make pesto, but you don’t have basil handy

From Daivd Lebowitz
DANDELION  PESTO:

12 oz. cleaned dandelion leaves
4 cloves of garlic
6 tbl.pine nuts
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup olive oil
2 1/2 cups of parmesan or romano cheese fresly grated
(Same method as above)

From the Smitten Kitchen
PEA PESTO
1 1/2 cups fresh peas
1 clove of garlic
2 Tbl. pine nuts, toasted and cooled
1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
(same method as original recipe, except cook the peas in boiling water for 2 minutes, put immediately in an ice bath and continue)

From Dorie Greenspan
WEED PESTO
10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
1/3 cu finely grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup silvered almonds
1/2 cup olive oil
sea salt to taste

What if you don’t have pine nuts or want to substitute something less expensive?
pecans, cashews, walnuts or almonds

The great thing about pesto is experimenting with different ingredients, until you find the one that suits you.

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