The Last of the Basil Pesto Recipe

Mini Pesto Pizzas wtih Thyme Mushrooms

I guess fall has officially arrived even with a little cloche the basil is on its last legs, seems like a good time to say good bye and snip it all for pesto. I find pure basil pesto a bit too “basily”, I prefer to dilute my basil with other greens, this recipe is at its best served hot, stir into hot  pasta, risotto, or just warm in the oven for a nice fall day dip. This is a cheese free pesto so it also freezes really well, but beware serving fresh pesto without lemon, it will oxidize fast and turn brown, but the green colour does hold up nicely once cooked.  It also worked really good for pizzas(see recipe below) even under high heat it held up really well and did not run  or drip all over the oven. 

Diluted Basil pesto:

1 cup packed basil leaves

½ cup packed sorrel leaves

½ cup packed spinach

¼ cup pine nuts

¼ cup sunflower seeds

3 tbl olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Put everything  in a blender or food processor and wiz together you will have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times, I like my pesto quite firm but if you like it more runny add more olive oil.

Mini pesto pizzas with thyme  mushrooms:

If you have never tried making yeast bread before I would really encourage you to give it a try, once you get the hang of it you won’t believe you how easy it is, pizza dough is a great place to start because a pizza smothered in toppings is very forgiving even if you don’t get the dough exactly right chances are nobody will notice in a pizza. Try my simple pizza dough  or use your own secret family recipe, whatever you like. 

Simple Pizza Dough:

1 cup warm water

1 pinch brown sugar

1 tsp active dry yeast

2 tbl olive oil

2 cups flour

1tsp salt 

Start with the  warm water, and by warm I mean bath water temp you should be able to stick your finger in the water without yanking it out from being too hot, yeast is a living leavening agent and if  you make the water too hot it will kill the yeast and your dough won’t rise, if the water is too cold it will still eventually work but it will take forever to rise. Think of it like you are just giving your yeast friend a nice warm bath. Next Into the warm water add the yeast and brown sugar, give it a big stir. Then leave it alone for about 10 minutes or so until it gets all frothy and bubbly on top.  In a mixing bowl stir together flour and salt, add the olive oil to the water-yeast mixture then pour it all into the flour-salt mixture, give it a good mix until it comes together, turn out on to a floured surface and knead until all the four is incorporated if the mixture is too sticky, knead in more flour.  Put the dough back in the bowl cover with a hot damp dish cloth let rise is a warm place for about 40 minutes, I find an oven warmed on the lowest setting for a minute or 2 then turned off is the best place to let my dough rise. 

Thyme Mushrooms:

3 cups of cleaned and sliced button mushrooms

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 clove micro grated garlic

2 tbl olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 While the pizza dough is rising cook up the thyme mushrooms.  In a skillet over medium heat add the olive oil then add the mushrooms, garlic, and season with salt and pepper.  Add the sprigs of thyme whole with the leaves still attached to the stems, sauté everything together, stirring often, the thyme leaves will fall from the stems, and just remove the stems afterwards.  Keep cooking until the mushrooms are nice a brown and all the juices have evaporated.

Next prep the ingredients for the pesto by placing them all in the blender but don’t blend them up just yet.  All this should take kind of a long time and the pizza dough should have doubled in size by now.  Get a baking sheet lined with parchment ready, pre heat the oven to 500F (just remember to take your dough out of the oven if you let it rise in there before you crank it up to 500!) you should have enough dough to make about 20 golf ball sized little dough balls, squish the little dough balls down by hand on to the parchment lined baking sheet one at a time to form a mini pizza, you will probably only have room for 6 or 8 per sheet.  In the blender wiz the pest together, spread each pizza with pesto, sprinkle with mushroom and bake for about 5 to 10 mins just until the crust is golden. 

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3 Responses to The Last of the Basil Pesto Recipe

  1. Great post, I have been looking for that 😛

  2. Pingback: Tarragon Pesto | My Little City Food Garden

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