Blanched Pesto Recipe
My husband said I should post this recipe because it is the best pesto he's ever had and I'd have to agree. I think blanching the leaves makes the pesto a bit creamier and the pesto comes out bright green! I also have a wimpy blender, which has a much easier time with the blanched leaves rather than the dry leaves. Anyway, thought I'd share and I hope you enjoy!
Recipe can easily be doubled. Yields 1 1/2 cups
1 TBS plus 1 tsp coarse salt
3 cups packed basil leaves
1/4 cup ice water
1 to 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1/2 cup pine nuts (I toast mine)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup evoo
*Bring 2 quart water seasoned with 1 TBS of the salt to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, set up an ice bath by combining ice and water in a medium bowl.
Put the basil in the boiling water, pressing it gently under the water, and cook for just 2 or 3 seconds. Quickly remove the basil from the water (a Chinese strainer works great here) and plunge it immediatley into the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Let cool completely for 2 minutes.
Remove the basil from the ice bath and squeeze gently with your hands or in a clean dishtowel to remove most of the excess water.
Chop the basil coarsely with a sharp knife and then put it in a blender. Add the 1/4 cup ice water, garlic, pine nuts, parm, the remaining tsp of salt and the pepper. Blend until the basil is coarsely pureed, scraping down the sides and adding more water to facilitate blending only if needed. Be patient; don't add more water if it isn't necessary. With the blender running, add the evoo in a steady stream until the pesto looks creamy and emulsified. Cover and store in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for up to a few months.
*I take a short cut with the blanching process. It seems a pain with the big pot of water and having to fish out the leaves. Instead I throw a handful of leaves into a colander and just boil water in the kettle. Once the water is boiling, I just pour the water over the leaves and I'm able to plunge the entire colander into the ice bath without having to fish the leaves. I also toast my pine nuts.