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Freshie Faves: Pesto Presto!

One of my favorite things to make and eat is pesto. I love the complex flavors that arise from the combination of fresh herbs, pine nuts, and the salty cheese. According to my friend, Wikipedia, a form of pesto has been around since Ancient Roman times, however, it surprisingly did not become popular in North American until the 1980s and 1990s! Hard to believe considering it is delicious and an extremely versatile sauce that has far more uses than one might think.

We have many pre-packaged pestos in our grocery department here at FRESH, from my favorite, Fratelli Carli (available on aisle 2) to the refrigerated varieties like Bearpond Farms Tomato Basil. However, the best pesto I have ever had came straight from my food processor using fresh ingredients blended to perfection. Try out this recipe for classic pesto:

Classic Pesto
5 cups fresh basil
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 fresh garlic cloves
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Pulse basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in food processor until finely chopped. With motor running, slowly pour in olive oil and process until smooth consistency. Transfer to medium bowl and stir in parmesan.

One of my favorite things to make with the classic pesto is what I call an Italian Quesadilla. I take a FRESH tortilla, smear it with pesto, add slices of tomato and top with FRESH Mozzarella. Place another tortilla over the top and brown both sides in a skillet. Ooh it is so good!

Try adding pesto to butter and spreading it on grilled corn or make pesto croutons by tossing bread cubes with pesto and olive oil and baking for 20 minutes at 350° F. You can also mix pesto with ground beef, pork or turkey to form flavorful meatballs.

Pesto presto!