6.28.2011

cilantro pesto

I love basil pesto but I usually just get it from the jar. My food processor is small and doesn't like to chop basil. I like pesto sauces because they're very bright tasting and are healthier than creamy sauces. Last week I experimented with making pesto from cilantro.
It's super easy and I didn't follow an exact recipe. If you've made pesto before, you know what I mean. You have a rough idea of the ratios but you make adjustments based on texture and taste as you go. Here's about what I did:

2 cups cilantro
1/8 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup manchego cheese
2 cloves garlic
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Combine in the food processor until everything is evenly mixed then start streaming in extra virgin olive oil. I made mine thick because I used it to stuff chicken breasts and spread on sandwiches. You can thin it out if you're making a dip or a pasta sauce.
I've seen a lot of variations online using different vinegars, red onions, shallots, different cheeses, parsley, etc. Just make sure your cheese is a hard cheese. I've seen recipes using cheeses like cojita which have a higher water content and if heated will turn your food into a gluey mess. If you've never made pesto, I suggest following a cilantro pesto recipe you think sounds good first and then make adjustments to taste from there.
I want to experiment and see what other leaves make good pesto since this small batch has gone a long way.

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