Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Basil Saffron Parmesan Pesto

With basil in season, I wanted to make my first batch of pesto for 2010. Wanting to please my readers with something different, I found this obscure little version deep in my files. I'll tell you what -- I was worried when I went to taint my beautiful pesto with these unusual ingredients. Saffron?  Turmeric??

Ultimately, I think the turmeric really brightened up the color of the pesto in an interesting way. The saffron didn't add anything to the taste, in my opinion, so I'm not sure I would recommend using your saffron in this way. (Unless you just wanted to say, "Oh yes, I use saffron in my pesto.") It could be that my saffron was too old to add much to this dish. I did take care to infuse the saffron in the boiling water separate from the pesto before adding the whole thing to the food processor.

Note - originally, this recipe called for 2 tsp of salt, which I used when putting this together. That was way too much salt. It wasn't so much salt that you couldn't eat it, but, why use that much? I've reduced to 1/2 tsp. Alternatively, you could prepare the pesto without salt and just season at the table.

Basil Saffron Parmesan Pesto
Vegetarian Times

2 c basil, fresh 
3/4 c olive oil
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
10-12 strands saffron
1 tsp turmeric
2-4 cloves garlic
1/4 c boiling water

Combine everything in food processor and process.

This can be used in a variety of ways, of course. Use as a dipping sauce for bread. Use in pizzas. Use as a spread on sandwiches. I chose to add it to pasta for a quick dinner.

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