2 Herbs roasted Nuts Tomato PESTO

Fresh Herbs and toasted Nut essences whirled into...
a blissful roasted Tomato PESTO special.

Some of you may
have made PESTO sauce authentically with the...
pestle and mortar?
Well, kudos to you...because it's sooo not my style to 'pestare'.
In other words the verb which gave the ultimate name to PESTO. Many of us have also taken the essence of what the classic Pesto consists of and slowly modified the original 'Pesto Genovese' to suit our practical and mostly culinary tastes.

With all the fragrant herbs...
I certainly have given my personal whirl on this recipe a multitude of times.



Now, for those that never heard of or ever had PESTO...here is a summary:
The Ligurian region within Northern Italy originated this aromatic sauce concoction consisting of: basil, nut, garlic, cheese and oil.
The basil plant had slowly found a perfect growing environment in the Ligurian area as well as in the Provence region of France. Initially, this plant was growing wild in the North African fields to be later grown in India for domestic uses and then finally carried over to Europe.
Originally, the 'Genovese' from Italy made this 'Pesto' with a blend of basil, garlic, pine nuts, hard salty cheese such as Parmeggiano all blended with olive oil.
The French made a similar pesto named 'Pistou'...which, although similar...was different by excluding the pine nuts and using a little parsley instead of basil. I do appreciate Pistou, however, due to the lack of nuts...pasta doesn't latch onto this sauce as well!
There exists a plethora of Italian regional pestos including one with sun-dried tomatoes from the 'Sicilian' region and also one incorporating roasted red peppers in the 'Calabrese' region.
Other nationalities as well have adapted this type of sauce to their regional cuisines by changing the varieties of herbs, nuts and cheeses used.
I am no different...I just couldn't leave well enough alone...
I needed to make a Pesto my way. 
Well, in truth, we don't always have bunches of fresh basil at hand do we?

Speaking of a fresh bouquet of basil...
my Mother-in-law features prominently...
into my Pesto making experiments.


I would describe 
my Mom-in-law 
as excessively generous.



when it comes to her
basil herb patch...
not so much.  
Every summer, I go through this mini begging session with her.


Since, I no longer have my house garden plot...
I've been feeling so deprived at my new transitional apartment rental. 
Poor little me...sacrifices had to be made when we decided to downsize ;o)


I've had to rely heavily on her kind sharing of her precious basil leaves.
I did actually contemplate mooching some off the communal garden...where no one has used one basil leaf yet!



However...I quickly let go of that sneaky idea.
I was afraid to get caught and tarnish my squeaky clean reputation.
After all...Mom did teach me right from wrong ;o)

My Mom-in-law and I have a special song and dance we go through every time.
I ask her for basil...she asks me
"how much do you need"?
This loosely translates to...{don't forget that I still haven't made the yearly tomato preserves yet.}


Late August is when her precious basil unites with her tomatoes...
afterwards...she eases up on her tight stash.
The only problem with that is the basil leaves turn harsher in texture and in taste.

This year, I wizened up...
I decided to be bolder about my needs.

 Therefore, I've gone bigger in the asking department.
Well, at least have enough basil for a few pesto jars made per picking.
Slowly but surely I get what I reasonably need to get me through the winter months.

FYI...my Mom-in-law never made Pesto...
not interested in making it...and probably never will.
Now...you tell me...
who am I to tell her what she's missing out on?!?

What else do I do differently?
I use the wonderful
 sweet roasted caramelized garlic
...as opposed to
raw garlic cloves.

I also rarely add the cheese up front.
I usually enjoy adding it freshly grated on the designated meal...
which gives me leeway in different strong cheese selections.

The following latest Pesto creation has been enhanced with the addition of roasted Roma tomatoes sweetening the pot of parsley and basil leaves.

2 Herbs roasted Nuts Tomato PESTO
yields 4 small glass jars ...about 4 cups (500ml)

PRINT recipe from HERE

(American / Metric measures)

. 2 cups (40g) Basil leaves (loosely packed)
. 2 cups (40g) flat Parsley leaves (loosely packed)
. 2 roasted Roma tomatoes * (8-10 slices)
. 3/4 cup (125g) pre-roasted nuts ** 
combo of three: Almonds, Hazelnuts, Walnuts
. 1/4 cup (45g) sunflower kernals (seeds)
. 2 Tbsps. (30ml) roasted garlic ***
. 2 cups (500ml) extra virgin olive oil
. pinch of sea salt
. 1/4 cup (45g) any type of hard salty cheese
(optional and not in this recipe)

* TOMATO...roasting: refer here for easy instructions on roasting tomatoes.
** NUTS...roasting: Pre-heat oven at 350F/180C/Gas4.  Roast the Walnuts for about 8 minutes...Hazelnuts for 12 minutes...Almonds 14 minutes.  The skins of hazelnuts can be rubbed off partially with the aid of a dry tea towel...however, this is not a necessary step.
*** GARLIC...roasting: refer here for easy instructions on roasting garlic.

1. Place everything [except for a reserved 1 cup (250ml) of the oil]...
into a strong blender or small food processor.

2. Prepare herb leaves by carefully washing and spin-drying...or...towel drying them well.
3. Pulsate the ingredients at first and then continue with a strong blitz.
4. Add the rest of the oil and blend until creamy smooth.
5. Pour into individual small glass mason jars.
6. These jars will do very well in the freezer for up to one year.
In the refrigerator...it will keep one week.
Just make sure that there's enough oil covering the surface.

PESTO can be used on a variety of dishes:
Salads, appetizers like dips and spreads...meat and fish dishes...on steamed and grilled vegetables dishes...especially potatoes, soups and pasta dishes of all kinds.

When using PESTO sauce on any selected dish...
I highly suggest adding the salty cheese at that time.  
I've found that it makes all the difference in how versatile your PESTO can be.

I really hope you get to make this very fragrant and delicious sauce topping or spread.
Do you have a favourite way to prepare your...
personalized PESTO or do you stick with the classic recipe?

Flavourful wishes,

Comments or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

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