Monday, July 28, 2014

pesto + manchego + marcona almond

Viewer Discretion Advised. This post is home to 99.9% of the manchego cheese porn on the internet. 
Chow Creations usually strays away from the lewd and cheesy concupiscence that inundates the food blogging universe, after all, we're not a pizza blog, wait, what do you mean the next post is a pizza, what happened to the cookies and cakes, and what type of lunatic creates an entire post for pesto, has this all been one sentence, no we're having a conversation, wait, who are you, who am I, *sings Who Am I from Les Mis for a couple minutes, and we're back. 

Everything I make, I eat. I don't think it's fair to chastise me for wanting to eat something more than corn and cranberry pancakies or frozen yogurt shortbread bars for breakfast, brunch, lunch, linner, dinner, dessert, second dessert, and midnight shame. 

Second, this isn't just another pesto recipe. This is a manchego cheese imported from La Mancha aged for six months and fancy spanish marcona almond pesto. 

Third, now I know how to play Who Am I on the piano. 

There are just a couple prep steps to this super simple sauce. First is to gather the basil. You don't have to be really selective when you choose your leaves. Pesto is perfect for that plant that's on the "brink" because no one's ever going to know if you used pretty leaves or ugly ones, everything's going to be pulverized anyways. Leave some for garnishing if you please, but other than that, take everything that's green (stem optional but not recommended, seriously not recommended). 

For almond prep you'll need to soak the nuts in some warm water. I do this because the nuts that I buy are already salted, and I think softer nuts give the pesto a smoother texture. Soak for fifteen minutes. You could toast the nuts, but I'm too lazy. I think it also makes the texture more course which I don't find favorable. 

Now to your regularly scheduled cheese porn. 

Let's get on with the cooking which is pretty much the processing. In a food processor we're going to put our basil, which optimally you've picked from your microgarden, the cheese, soaked almonds, little salt and pepper, and 1/4 cup of extra virgin. Process it on and off for thirty seconds. Then, if your processor allows it, drizzle in the rest of the olive oil while the motor is still moving so you can perfectly tailor the consistency to your liking. Remember, the recipe below is just for guidance, I'm wrong sometimes, fine, most of the times. Season the pesto to your likings. 

When you're done transfer it to a bowl and serve it with an assortment of cheeses and crostinis, or dress pasta with it, or marinade chicken, or, make a delicious manchego potato pesto pizza (coming soon, if not already out (check your local listings)). Yeah I put a parenthesis in a parenthesis. 

This pesto was so delicious and so easy. The fresh basil was peppery and herbaceous, combined with that nuttiness from the almonds, and the delicious salty Manchego, all brought together by that full bodied extra virgin, I don't think there's anything better. It just goes to show you don't need to spend an entire day to make something sophisticated and awesome. This was truly one of the best pestos I've ever made and I sincerely hope you all give this a try. And as always, 



2 cups basil, loosely packed
3/4 Manchego Cheese
3/4 extra virgin olive oil, divided (1/4 cup + 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup Marcona almond

salt + pepper to taste

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