Monday, December 28, 2015

Southwest Lime Basil Pesto and Lemony Lemon Basil Pesto

I think you can't be a basil geek without being something of a pesto adventurer.  So, with the recent frosts threatening to destroy my miniature basil crop, it was time for some creative pesto creations. 

The first creation, lemony lemon basil pesto, was pretty simple: Using my favorite pesto recipe (the Williams Sonoma recipe in their muffin cookbook), use all the lemon basil. Supplement with enough Italian basil to make 1 cup. Add a splash of lemon juice. Other than that, follow the recipe.

Using up the lime basil called for something with a little more of a southwest inspiration. Alas, I didn't have any cilantro.  But then, Sis-in-lalala will be visiting soon, and she loathes cilantro. So, for now, we stick with flat leaf parsley. Plus some Mexican oregano, since I have enough to feed a small nation. But, next time, I will use cilantro and oregano. 

Next, the nut. Almonds immediately came to mind. While I was rummaging for almonds, I thought about using pepitas.  Next time maybe.  Or maybe next time, sunflower seeds. But, for now, almonds.

Oil: Either olive or sunflower. I used both.

Other seasonings: chipotle powder, ancho chile powder, smoked paprika, cumin.

Ready, set, Pesto:

1/2 cup raw almonds (or pepitas, or sunflower seeds, or combo)
4 cloves garlic
6 Tbsp unrefined sunflower oil or extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, loosely packed
1/4 cup fresh Mexican oregano, loosely packed
1 cup lime basil leaves (can use part Italian)
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder and/or smoked paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
salt to taste
3-4 Tbsp grated pecorino romano cheese

  1. Pulse almonds and garlic together in a small food processor until finely minced, but not quite ground.
  2. Add parsley, basil, and oil.  Pulse until well-incorporated, stirring periodically.  If it seems a bit dry, add more oil.
  3. Pulse in the rest of the seasonings. Stir, taste, and adjust. 
  4. Stir in the pecorino romano, adding more oil if needed.
Top with a little extra oil to keep the basil from turning brown.

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