Hand-ground Pesto Recipe

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for aunt rosemary who gave me my first irresistible bite of red sauce  

I live in Ecuador, the land of abundant vegetation. Bountiful, fresh, hydroponic, organically grown vegetables and fruit are everywhere and you can buy it for only pennies.

Literally.

This has spawned my love for fresh and simple cooking. I believe that everyone should master what I call the "Italian Flag" of pasta sauces.  You have to master a simple yet decadent red, white, and green sauce before you die. After three years of chopping, obsessing, and much trial-and-error and I can honestly say that I have mastered all three. (Humble, right?) Today I want to share my green pesto sauce with you! 


For this recipe I use a macadamia nut for the pesto. Greg has a slight allergy to the nut most commonly used in pesto (walnut) and personally I find the taste slightly bitter. Instead I prefer a pinenut usually but I can't find those always in Quito. I instead use a unsalted macadamia nut, I find their flavor mild so it doesn't compete with the flavor of the pesto.

For my recipe I try and use baby basil leaves. (Less than one inch leaves are the best and most flavorful) Typically the basil found in our farmers market or my table-top-container garden works the best. You can throw all the scrumptious ingredients that I am about to unveil in the blender but if you are like me and want to go really gourmet then you are going to want to use a  morter and pestle and grind all the ingredients by hand.  To do this I usually mash the nuts separate from the other ingredients and mix them in later. I start by grinding the torn leaves of the basil together with garlic into the morter. It takes a bit more work (for feeding 15 people it usually takes me about ten minutes of grinding) but that's what cooking is all about anyway! 

putting love into the effort of cooking is the secret ingredient for all delicious recipes. 

Ingredients: 

+ 3 TBS Macadamia Nuts
+ Basil (about a cup)
+1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese
+ Salt (to taste) 
+ 3 Garlic cloves (minced) 
+ 3 TBS Olive Oil

 

DIRECTIONS: 

Crush macadamia nuts and set aside. 

Select the smallest basil leaves (under one inch) and tear them into small pieces. The smallest leaves hold the richest flavors for pesto. Using a morter and pestle grind the garlic, salt, and basil together until they are a paste. 

In a separate bowl, combine nuts, basil paste, olive oil and parmesan cheese, Mix together.  You may need to add more salt.  Use directly on pasta, pizza, or as a spread on sandwiches as a delicious condiment. 

If you try this recipe comment below and let me know!  

XO,