Make Pesto--A Dixie Style Recipe
Ingredients for classic Dixie Pesto!
A Traditional Basil Pesto with a Southern Pecan Twist!
My friends call me the "Pesto Queen"! Every summer I plant a few basil plants in various locations in my yard. (I have found that basil grows best in the ground as opposed to containers or pots.) Suffice it to say, I usually have plenty of fresh basil to make "Dixie Pesto".
What makes it "Dixie"? Well, "Dixie" implies that the recipe is from the southern USA--and I assume it is. Why? It came from a collection of recipes compiled by the Birmingham (AL) Botanical Gardens. Instead of using the traditional pine nuts, this recipe uses pecans. This wonderful, healthy nut grows in abundance in Georgia and Alabama--two very southern states, indeed. So, the Dixie is well deserved, I believe.
All Images are mine unless otherwise stated or if they are Amazon products.
What is pesto?
According to Wikipedia pesto is a sauce traditionally made with basil, garlic, nuts, olive oil and cheese. The "pesto" name originates from "pestle". A mortar and bowl were used to pound the ingredients together. Today we grind them in a blender or food processor. Pesto originated in Genoa, Italy.
An Alabama Southern Original Recipe
I discovered the original recipe in Alabama Gardner's Guide (see the Amazon link below to purchase this wonderful book). The author, Jennifer Greer, tells her readers that this "deliciously easy recipe" is from Herbs on the Table, published by the Herb Association of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. I have a friend who owns this book and graciously shared the recipe with me.
The image with this recipe was taken my me.
I like to play with the flavors of different herbs. Today I used some fresh sage. Last year I used some of my rosemary. Tomorrow I am going to try using my lemon thyme. Do not over do it by adding too many herb combinations or too much.
No Cooking Involved, actually!
- 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup lightly packed snipped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup pecans (chopped or whole) (can substitute walnuts)
- 2 peeled garlic cloves
- fresh sage (optional)
- thyme (optional)
- rosemary (optional)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Put pecans and garlic cloves in your processor or blender. Process until coarsely chopped. Add basil, parsley, cheese and other herbs of choice and process until it forms a "paste" (this is from the original recipe; I like my pesto to be kind of grainy). Scrape the sides if you need to. While the machine is running, add the olive oil; process until this forms a consistency of softened butter.
- The original recipe mentions that you can serve this over pasta.
- Store in the refrigerator or freeze.
Dixie Pesto in the making:
In the beginning:
Gather the ingredients. Get your food processor (I love mine--it is as vintage as they come!). First grind the pecans, then add the basil, parsley, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.
Next step to perfect pesto:
After the first ingredients are ground up, you slowly add the olive oil. You can store your pesto in a covered container or serve it in a ramekin. I like the pretzel chips with my pesto.
Photo collages of the pesto "how to" were made using PicMonkey.com
Dixie pesto in the making, photos part 2
Find the Dixie Pesto Recipe in this classic gardening book:
Want my vintage processor to make pesto?
I like the Oskar food processor to make pesto. Some people use a blender, but the Oskar works the best for me because I do not have to scrape the sides as much and I do when using a blender. The bowl is also the perfect size for my recipe for pesto.
Storing and preserving your Dixie pesto:
Freeze to always have pesto on hand.
Use the refrigerator! I store my pesto in a jar or a "rubbermaid" type container.
To freeze the pesto, I use an old fashioned ice cube tray.
The tray here has frozen juice and chopped bell peppers in it.
Freeze the pesto in the tray, then pop out the pesto cubes and put them in a ziplock type baggie. I generally use them up within a year with no problem.
How do I use pesto?
My favorite way to use pesto is as a condiment on warm bread. I put a dab of the pesto on a plate and pour some olive oil over it. Then I just rip off a chunk of bread and dip. The best part is, the bread really does not have to be warm--just soft and fresh.
Consider this comment section of my page as a guestbook for visitors. If you do not use pesto at all, you can just let me know that you visited.