Cashew Basil Pesto

I went to the kitchen and found this beautiful thing……..

20140907-IMG_7514.jpg

…………and decide it’s Pesto time!!

My brain translates word “pesto” as delicious all the time. Whether its served hot or cold, i just seem like it no matter what. I started to make my own pesto a few years back when i realised that the one sold in grocery stores just too pricey for my liking. Just like that, i never bought another pesto ever since. Home made pesto offers much more variants and can be customised to my taste. Whether i want it more subtle with the mix of spinach and basil, or i want to blanch my basil first or not, or i want to switch things up by using coriander leaves, or i want to use almond instead of pine nuts or i want to make some without cheese. Unlimited possibilities.

That’s why it’s different every time i make my pesto because i just use whatever ingredients i have at that moment. For this recipe, i found a bunch of cashew nuts in my pantry and no parmesan at all. Hence Cashew Basil pesto with a little bit of cream cheese? How will it taste? Don’t know. This combination with cream cheese will be my first try 😉

I know Pesto is not as common as bolognese or carbonara, but it works just the same. Pesto is a type of sauce or dressing for your pasta. “Pesto” word itself originated from contracted past participle of the Genoese verb pestâ (Italian: pestare), which means to pound, to crush. People long time ago pund some garlic, handful of pine nuts, salt, basil, parmesan and blend it with olive oil in marble mortar with circular motion. Hence, “Pesto”.

We find savoury red bolognese beef spaghetti or creamy fettucini carbonara almost in every restaurant in Jakarta and its just easy to make one at home too nowadays. So what about pesto? It is nutty, fragrant, so different from bolognese and carbonara, yet so yum! I love to make one at home since the ingredient so easy to come by.

The basic to pesto are basil, nuts, garlic, cheese, oil and seasoning. I usually go with 2 handful of basil, 1 handful of nuts and half handful garlic (yes i measure everything by hand) and remember to add cheese before sprinkling some salt (or it can get too salty).Pesto Ingredients

I like to toast the cashews along with garlic to bring out their aroma.Cashew & Garlic toasted

Get your olive oil and start with a small amount. I’ve made mistake by pouring too much oil in the past and there’s no going back from runny pesto unless by adding much more other ingredients (which in the end too much pesto).I forgot olive oil is a must!

Caaaaan’t wait to taste this badass.

Pesto, ready to go!

I store it in a jar like this and put it in my refrigerator. Best used within a week or so although i doubt that it will last that long 😉 If you want to keep it longer, heat the sauce on the stove until  a little bit bubbly and add more olive oil until it covers the surface in your jar (to prevent moulding).Keep it in a sealed jar

This version of pesto with cashew and cream cheese taste creamier than the usual pesto.

How do you use pesto?

  1. Boil some pasta, drain the water and put it in frying pan. Add a couple of tablespoon of pesto to the pasta and stir fry until everything combined. You can add a little bit of smoked chicken and cream as well.
  2. Make a carbonara with a twist. Cook up your regular carbonara, then add a tablespoon of pesto to make your carbonara green and nutty!
  3. OR make some green mayo. Mix regular mayonaisse with some pesto for dipping french fries and add a squeeze of lemon to give it a bit of punch.

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