Archive for July, 2009

Spicy Tomato-Basil-Oregano Pesto

A week or so ago, I shared a delicious pizza with someone special. It was topped with with tomato-basil pesto and mushrooms. Mmm, I’m getting hungry again just thinking about it. I’ve been wanting to make a homemade pizza with some of the produce coming into the garden now, and I decided it would go well with some of this pesto. Fortunately, Cooks Illustrated provided me with a road map for what I wanted.

My basil plant is doing pretty well, but it’s my oregano that’s just exploding. And really, no good pizza is without oregano. I decided to throw it in the pesto instead of sprinkling it on it’s own.

This lovely pink pesto was great on my pizza (topped with zucchini and cheese), and it would also be great over pasta, which I’ll be trying soon. Like a basil pesto, this one will freeze well. I recommend freezing it in ice cube trays, and then popping out the pesto cubes into a freezer bag. That way, you can take out however much pesto you need without defrosting all of it.

Servings: Makes about 2 1/2 cups pesto

Cooking time: less than 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 12 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • enough fresh oregano leaves to equal 1/2 cup when combined with the basil (scant 1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium-large garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp wine vinegar (red or white)
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  1. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toast for a few minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent scorching. Set the pan aside to cool.
  2. Roughly dice the garlic clove. Add the garlic, tomatoes, herbs, pepper vinegar and salt to a food processor. Add the nuts when cool. Process until smooth, less than 1 minute. Scrap down the sides. Add the olive oil and continue to process for another minute, or if you have a feeder shoot on your processor (I do not), add the olive oil while its running.
  3. Use on anything you like: pasta, pizza, bruschetta…

Note: I only have a 2 cup food processor, so I had to do this in two batches. I just mixed the batches together in a bowl afterwards to make sure it was evenly distributed. For a less spicy pesto, use fewer pepper flakes.

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