Grind or grate cheese and set aside. Grind nuts and set aside. Wash and spin dry oregano leaves (not the stems unless they are very tender).
Have your Cuisinart ready for this next step: Heat oil in large pot and add cleaned garlic cloves, each cut into about three pieces. After about one minute, add the oregano leaves and quickly stir until they have been “blanched” for about 30 seconds – you really don’t want it cooked, which will make it brown. Pour all of the contents into the Cuisinart, add a pinch of ascorbic acid or a bit of lemon juice and pulse until pureed. Measure this into a bowl and add the same quantity of nuts and cheese. The quantities of nuts and cheese to use are to personal preference – as with the quantity of olive oil to use. If you want it thinner, add more. I sometimes wonder if this isn’t just a vehicle for parmesan cheese! You may also make the pesto WITHOUT the cheese and add it when serving. I put in small glass jars. Will keep for about one week in refrigerator or months in the freezer.
1. I usually use half a good quality extra virgin and half a neutral baking olive oil.
2. Different nuts give the pesto a slightly different flavor. Walnuts makes a pesto great for pork, while the almonds and cashews give a lighter taste perhaps better for toast. I generally don’t bother to use pine nuts (yikes, $35/lb) – while creamier in texture, it doesn’t seem to do much for the flavor.
Best on crunchy or wholegrain bread
Grilled vegetable pizzas, bruschetta
With polenta, served with a dollop of goat cheese and a dollop of oregano pesto
Stuffing for pork loin
Stuff large cherry tomatoes with a mixture of pesto and goat cheese
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