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New Ways to Pesto

Forget the pesto you pick up at the store. With just a handful of basil, you’re only 10 minutes away from the same thing made better at home. And once you’ve got that mastered, Betty has four ways to create new flavors using the same basic technique. Before you know it, you’ll be spooning homemade pesto into pasta, basting it on grilled meats and smearing it on sandwiches.

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  1. Spinach Pesto: Substitute 2 cups of firmly packed fresh spinach for the basil.
  2. Cilantro Pesto: Substitute 1½ cups firmly packed fresh cilantro and ½ cup firmly packed fresh parsley for the basil.
  3. Basil, Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto: Use a food processor. Decrease basil to 1 cup. Decrease oil to 1/3 cup; add ½ cup of drained roasted red or yellow bell peppers from a jar. Substitute walnuts for the pine nuts.
  4. Basic Basil Pesto: In a blender or food processor, place 2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves, ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, ½ cup olive oil, 3 cloves garlic and ¼ cup pine nuts. Cover; blend on medium speed about 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula, until smooth.
  5. Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto: Use a food processor. Omit the basil. Decrease oil to 1/3 cup; add ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, undrained.
Cool Tip: For homemade pesto anytime, freeze pesto in ice cube trays. Once frozen, move pesto cubes to a re-sealable freezer plastic bag and store in freezer up to 6 months.

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