Sunday, August 18, 2013

Better Tomato Pesto and Its Secret Ingredient

If you love traditional basil pesto, then you will have to take my daughter's word for it that tomato basil pesto is better.

I suppose I can say she is a reliable source since over the years I have put many varieties in front of her at the kitchen table. Those flavors have included sunflower basil pesto, yellow bell pepper pesto, spinach pesto, white kidney bean pesto, and sage pesto. Tomato pesto is her favorite.

Since tomatoes are ripening on the vine, there is no better time than the present to share this recipe.

As for the secret ingredient, it's grape-seed oil! I love it's light and smooth flavor, which yields a consistent quality. Although olive oil is traditionally used in pesto, I tend to get boggled down and somewhat disappointed in experimenting with all the different shades/designs of olive oil that are available. Usually in choosing between virgin, extra virgin, light or regular, I've found that despite whatever the label says, some olive oil varieties/brands can be heavier in flavor than what I thought I was getting -- or provide no flavor at all. However, Grape-seed oil has solved that! Plus, Grape-seed oil is another one of those oils that is good for you with its high content of Vitamin E and anti-oxidants.

Enjoy! And happy living to you!

Tomato Basil Pesto

1 1/2 cup fresh basil
4 medium tomatoes, skins blanched (removed), seeds and cores removed
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 cup grape-seed oil
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup pine nuts
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in food processor and blend until somewhat smooth. Modify to taste.

Serve with crackers, or as a spread on your next sandwich, or mix into pasta. Creativity is yours!

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