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The Blue & Gray Press | June 24, 2018

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Cooking corner: pesto pizza and pasta

By VIRGINIA OSELLA

If you like fresh basil and garlic, you’ll love pesto. Once you try it, you’ll be addicted. If you’ve ever wondered how to make it, here is a simple recipe you can use.

The ingredients are a little more expensive, but completely worth it. The price for basil will come down as the weather gets warmer and it becomes available locally. If you wait until later in spring or summer, you can get a big bunch at the farmer’s market for $3-$5.

If you just can’t wait to make some pesto, basil is in the produce section of most grocery stores. It is usually sold in little plastic packages and you’ll need about three of those to make a full batch. The recipe makes about 2 cups, and can be used in a variety of ways.

This recipe is enough for six to eight servings of pasta. Just cook the pasta and stir in the pesto before serving.

One of my roommate’s favorite things for me to make is pesto pizza. Just buy your favorite pre-made crust and place on a baking sheet. Generously spread pesto on top (about 1 cup, but depends on the size of the crust) and cover with 8-12 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese.

You can also add fresh tomato slices, spinach, and/or grated parmesan if you like. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is golden brown.

Pesto is also great on sandwiches or spread on fresh bread. Experiment and try it on anything that could use an extra kick.

Ingredients:

3 Packed cups fresh basil leaves (no stems)
3-4 cloves of garlic
1/4 -1/2  tsp. salt
3/4  grated parmesan cheese
1/4  cup pulverized pine nuts or walnuts
1/4  cup olive oil

Directions:

Puree everything together in a blender or a food processor until it becomes a uniform paste texture. Store in the fridge or freezer in a tightly lidded jar