Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pesto - Island style!

In my week 6 CSA, I got a big bunch of basil. Mr. Wonderful loves pasta, I thought he would enjoy have some fresh pesto for his dinner during the week. (Yes, he cooks at least for himself)
My order of macadamia nuts also arrived from the Big Island on the same day. These are not the mac-nut that you get in a can. They are fresh and wonderful, right from Dr. Paulo's Kona Coffee and Macadamia Nut Farms. I order in bulk since I use it quite a bit. They store well in the fridge!

With fresh basil and my favorite mac-nuts,  I have to make some Island style Pesto.

 Islands style Mac-nut pesto
A large bunch of basil leaves, washed, remove stems, make about 2 cups (loosely packed)
1 bulb of garlic
1 bulb of shallot
½ cup of roasted unsalted macadamia nuts. (If you are using salted nuts, you will need less salt at the end.)
1/8 cups of Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Quick note about Olive oil, I strongly recommend using a good quality olive oil whenever you are not cooking with it, such as making salad dressing and pesto here.
Salt and pepper to taste

Roast the garlic and shallot in the oven or on the grill (5-8 mins on the grill, 30 mins at 350 in the oven). Since I was making dinner, I used the grill today.
Remove the skin from both the shallot and the garlic. Once you separated the garlic into individual clove, use the flat side of the knife and press upward; the clove will be squeezed out easily.

As the shallot, cut a slit in the middle of the bulb, and pull the peel back. Remove the cooked clove. Set aside
In a food processor, grind the mac-nut to a grainy texture. 
 Since I have an 11-cups processor, I have to make at least a cup. I freeze the rest for other recipes.Please make sure you don’t over process or you will get mac-nut butter. Remove the grinded nut.
In the same processor bowl, combine basil leaves with garlic and shallot, process for about a min
Add grinded mac-nut.
Process for about another min till everything is combined
When the processor is running, pour in 1/8 of olive oil from the tube.

Process till you have a paste like texture. Season with salt and pepper.

Store in an airtight container. Store in the fridge and use within a week, or you can freeze it up to a month.

My pesto here does not have cheese in it and I am also using a lot less oil since the mac-nut is oilier than pine nuts. You can add ½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese at the end and increase the olive oil to ¼ cup if you want

This pesto is not very different from the classic version. Here are a few ideas:
Toss your pasta with the pesto.
Marinade chicken breast with a few tablespoons for ½ hour and cook on the grill.
Add 1 tsp to ¼ cup white wine vinegar, whisk in ¼ cup of olive oil to make a pesto dressing.

Here is my dinner tonight:
Grilled corn, brushed with 1 teaspoon of Island pesto. The sweetness of the corn, mix with the pesto. I am in heaven. As we would say on the Island – it’s Onolicious!


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