Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunflower Basil Pesto

The way I feel about basil is the same way I do about my fruits; you can never have enough. The freshness of the basil is just so intoxicating. It's perfect for pizza, pasta, salad dressing, tomato basil bread, and of course pesto. I make pesto every year and freeze into ice cube shapes. Just add the cheese when you have defrosted whatever amount you want to use.  There is a recipe that I follow and it calls for pine nuts. These expensive little nuts that can run from $36-$45 per pound.  I only buy them once a year and every year I cringe at the price.  This year I decided to try something new. Sunflower seeds.  I buy them in 50lb quantities for my bread and salads.  So it's not like I don't have any on hand.
PS- I know you can make it also with walnuts... but I despise walnuts.

~4 cups of packed fresh Basil
2/3 cup Sunflower seeds
6 cloves of garlic
~1/3 - 2/3 cup of Olive Oil
1 cup of Parm or you favorite hard cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse your basil leaves and place them in your food processor.
Add in the sunflower seeds and pulse till everything is nicely chopped (not pureed).
Add in your garlic and pulse a few more times.
Scrape down the sides of the food processor.
Turn on the food processor and add in the olive oil while it's running.
Scrape down the sides once more and add your salt and pepper.
I started with 1/2 tsp of salt and few cranks of the pepper mill.
Puree till you have the consistency you desire.
If you are eating it now or keeping it in the fridge, stir in your cheese.
If you are freezing it then don't add the cheese just yet. Place inside ice cube trays or container of your choice. If you do the ice cubes trays then you pop them out after a few hours and place inside a freezer bag.
They are easy to defrost and keep all winter long.


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