“Fresh Pesto”

Fresh Basil Pesto:
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves

2-4 cloves garlic

1/4 cup pine nuts (or chopped nuts of choice)

1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

1-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, optional

Wash and pat dry basil leaves, place in food processor, add garlic and nuts. Pulse processor to coarsely chop. Add 1/4-cup oil and process until smooth. While processing add additional oil to create desired consistency. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper; stir in grated Parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Freezes well; for convenience, freeze in ice cube trays then store in freezer bags.
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto:
1 jar (8 oz) sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil

1/2-1 cup canned fire roasted tomatoes, with juice

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

Salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon lemon zest, optional

1-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Place sun-dried tomatoes (and oil) and approximately 1/2-cup canned tomatoes (drained), garlic, pine nuts and basil in food processor; pulse to coarsely chop. Add additional tomatoes and liquid from canned tomatoes and process to create desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste, stir in lemon zest and Parmesan cheese; cover and refrigerate.
Mint Pesto:
2 cups packed fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Excellent with grilled lamb chops.

Place mint leaves and almonds in food processor; pulse to chop. Continue to process while gradually adding oil until desired consistency is achieved; salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate.
Pesto Cream Cheese Appetizer:
1 recipe Basil Pesto, made on the dry side

1 recipe Tomato Pesto, made on the dry side

3 package (8 oz ea) low fat cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup salted butter, softened

Pine Nuts or chopped nuts, optional garnish

Sliced Baguette, crackers, sliced vegetables

Blend 3/4 package (6 oz) cream cheese into Basil Pesto, set aside; blend 3/4 package (6 oz) cream cheese into Tomato Pesto, set aside. Beat together remaining cream cheese and softened butter until smooth; add fresh cracked pepper to taste.

Butter a 6-cup dish (with a flat bottom); line dish with plastic wrap. Carefully spread approximately 1/3 cream cheese butter mixture in bottom of prepared dish;* spread with 1/2 the tomato pesto; spread with 1/4 the remaining cream cheese; spread with 1/2 the basil pesto; repeat: cream cheese, tomato pesto, cream cheese, basil pesto; end with cream cheese on top. Cover and refrigerate overnight. To serve, invert bowl on serving plate and carefully remove plastic wrap. Serve with sliced bread, crackers and vegetables.

* Chilling or partially freezing between layers will help create a neat layered look.

Uses For Pesto:

Toss with cooked pasta; add fresh cherry tomato halves and additional cheese

Spread on pizza crust, add a few favorite toppings of choice and shredded cheese, bake

Spread on baguette, sprinkle with additional shredded Parmesan cheese and toast

Toss with fresh Mozzarella balls, serve with sliced fresh tomatoes

Spread inside a rolled pork roast or rolled chicken and grill

Stir into cottage cheese for a dip, or use with pasta

Mix with canned white beans (drained); mash beans to mix, serve as a dip

Serve on sliced cooked beef, chicken, pork, fish

Serve on sliced boiled potatoes, sliced tomatoes or other garden vegetables

Stir into soups

For delicious dairy recipes and nutrition information go to www.DairyCouncilUTNV.com, www.NationalDairyCouncil.org or on Facebook www.facebook.com/DairyUTNV

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