This past summer, I bought a few basil plants for my mother. They were tiny in May ... but, surprise surprise, they grew tremendously and provided delicious fresh basil for a variety of recipes. :-)
One of these classic basil recipes is the "quick and easy" olive oil basil pesto one.
3 cups fresh basil leaves
4 large garlic cloves
½ cup pine nuts
1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil
1 ¼ cups Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper
In a blender, puree the basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil until a smooth paste is formed. Do not over blend or the mixture will get hot and darken. Transfer to a bowl, mix in the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
If you're not using it immediately, refrigerate the pesto. Please note that the pesto can also be frozen, for up to 6 months, for later use.
Why is olive oil so good and yet so healthy at the same time?
We're used to having to choose between the two. For example, when we're presented with food that tastes like cardboard but we're told is full of organic, unsweetened fiber. ;-)
Well, olive oil is mostly composed of mono unsaturated
fatty acids. These acids can help lower the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. They can
also help normalize blood clotting and be beneficial to blood sugar control (re: diabetes). Olive oil is rich as well in antioxidants and in vitamin E, which are believed to play a role in cancer prevention.
So, enjoy olive oil in its many uses, mainly culinary ... and remember that the secret is to add olive oil to other quality ingredients (e.g. tomatoes, feta, arugula, bocconcini, etc) to end up with absolutely delicious and healthy food!