Clara Gluten Free


I've been on the look out for a good pesto recipe, partly because I like herbs, mostly because I like basil, certainly because I like green food (or green anything), and of course, because I love pasta, and the GF glass-noodles I like really need a sauce. Last summer, we got lots of basil from the CSA, so making pesto has been floating around in my neurons for a while now, but I hadn't found anything I liked. So, when an Italian-cooking friend sent me a fantastic recipe, that was, well, pretty fantastic. 

Of course, the first thing I did was confuse the recipe (as in I put in tablespoons of oil, not 1 1/2 cups), but I can say, that even that worked. Huzzah for yummy and adaptable! But more importantly, what's so great about this recipe is it's flavors, especially the lemon juice. I noticed that it balanced out the richness of the nuts and the olive oil and brightened everything up. Pesto can be surprisingly dark and heavy, which has been the main strike I have against it. Instead, the lemon really brought out the flavor of the basil and the parsley. It even got me wondering about making a version with other herbs. Cilantro? Mint? Sage? Something else? In the meantime- fantastic basil pesto anyone?

Tay Tay's Pesto- makes about 4 cups

1- combine in a large food processor or blender: 

2 cups of fresh italian (flat leaf) parsley

1 1/2 cups of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic (best if sautéed a bit)
1 cup of grated romano cheese
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/2 cup of pine nuts.

2- After processing until smooth, add in:  

3 firmly packed cups of fresh basil
 Salt +  pepper

3- Process again, serve immediately. Or refrigerate until needed or freeze for a couple of days. 

*My notes:

If you can't find gluten-free romano cheese, Parmesan can work too. It's more savory and a bit saltier (so you can drop the salt from the recipe) but often easier to find. In any case, the freshness of the herbs and the quality of the cheese and the olive oil will make the pesto. 

You can toast the pine nuts- this will darken the flavor and increase the nuttiness, but it is nice variation. 

Also, if you use only about 3-5 tbs of oil, you will get a very fluffy paste. I've been thinking I'll do that again, and serve it on top of fresh mozzarella or tomatoes or both. 

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