Purple Basil Pesto

Can I just say, officially, how much I love farmers markets? Locally grown produce sold within walking distance of my apartment every week. Close relationships with the growers, exposure to awesome new ingredients, and the best quality, period, of any ingredient.

You know what really did it for me? Tomatoes. Honestly, supermarket tomatoes are borderline nasty once you grow your own and/or purchase fresh ones from the farmers market. Where supermarket tomatoes are pale, bland, and mealy, fresh tomatoes are vibrant, sweet, and succulent. They are almost indescribable. I could probably eat them every day for infinite and never tire of them.

This Sunday I went to my local farmers market and picked up some gorgeous fresh tomatoes and a huge bundle of fresh purple basil (only $1!).

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And tonight I feasted on the most glorious impromptu dinner as of late. I ended up making a pesto with the purple basil and delicious romano cheese, slathering it on some slices of sourdough baguette, and topping it with a mix of fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with fresh cracked salt and pepper. Don’t judge. I may have eaten half a baguette to the face. But seriously, it was so good it was hard to stop.

Please please. Make this for yourself. And all of your friends.

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{Purple Basil Pesto}

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{Purple Basil Pesto on Sourdough Baguette with Fresh Tomatoes and Mozzarella}

Health Tip: Basil is an amazing natural antibacterial (just like garlic and onions), containing a variety of natural oils that kill pathogens such as E. coli, Listeria, and S. aureus, which are common causes of food poisoning. Some researchers/anthropologists believe that humans began cooking with herbs and spices because of their antimicrobial properties. Since they helped us stay well, we developed a taste preference for them and continued to work them into our local cuisines.

Purple Basil Pesto

makes about 2 cups

  • 2 cups tightly packed purple basil leaves (really squish the leaves into each cup until it is full)
  • 5 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1/2 cup raw pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely grated romano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Simply place all of the ingredients together in a food processor and pulse on low until just combined. You still want the pesto to look like you could have finely chopped it by hand (not some goopy, ultra-smooth mess).

If you want to eat it like I did, bruschetta style, you will also need the following ingredients:

  • 2 medium-large fresh tomatoes, diced
  • a tub of small ciliegine mozzarella balls, quartered
  • a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh cracked salt and pepper
  • 1 sourdough baguette, sliced diagonally (for extra surface area)

Simply toss the tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, and salt and pepper together in a bowl. Take a slice of baguette smear it with some fresh pesto, and top with the tomato mozzarella mixture. Enjoy the party in your mouth!

 


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