Tuesday, July 20, 2010

0 Recipe #144: Mint & Kalamata Olive Pesto

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Below is my own little spin on pesto. Enjoy!

Mint & Kalamata Olive Pesto

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. garlic, peeled & roughly chopped (about 1 medium-sized clove)
2 Tbsp. pignoli (pine) nuts, lightly toasted (takes about 1-2 min. in toaster on "top brown" setting)
1 c. fresh mint leaves, destemmed and densely packed
1 Tbsp. fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped & densely packed
1/4 c. Kalamata olives, pitted
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. Asiago cheese, freshly shredded (For best results, shred block of Asiago using a microplane grater.)
1/8 tsp. salt (or to taste; or, can omit altogether, since Kalamata olives already provide a salty flavor)
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Directions: Place olive oil, garlic, & toasted pignoli nuts in a food processor, and pulse until the mixture is finely ground. Next, add basil, parsley, & olives, incorporating a small batch at a time (via the feed tube) while pulsing the mixture until it becomes thick and smooth. Stir in the lemon juice, shredded cheese, salt (if using), & pepper, & blend until desired consistency is obtained. Serve atop pasta & garnish with additional shredded Asiago, or use as a topping for chicken, fish, etc.

Yield: 4-6 servings.

Variations: Instead of Kalamata olives, try using Greek or cracked green olives.

Chef's Notes: Pesto will keep in the refrigerator for about 1-2 weeks. IMPORTANT: If you plan to freeze the pesto, it's best to leave out the cheese and add it after you thaw out the pesto. Cheese doesn't freeze very well.

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