Basil Poblano Pesto

I received a nice bunch of basil in this week’s vegetable box, and was tempted to make pesto, but wanted to do something different with it. I was really stuck for an interesting idea until shopping today at Whole Foods when I spotted the poblano peppers. Why not make a latin-infused pesto with basil and poblanos? I thought I’d stick to the other ingredients in my recipe – pecorino romano cheese, pine nuts, olive oil and lemon juice – but when I started making dinner I realized that I didn’t have any pine nuts. I almost gave up at that point, but then I spotted my one-quart mason jar half-full of pumpkin seeds (pepitas). Substituting them for the pine nuts seemed to fit perfectly with adding poblano peppers, so I was set.

Place in a food processor, blender, or large bowl with steep sides (if using an immersion blender, which is what I use):

  • 2 cups fresh basil, measured after packing tightly in the measuring cup
  • 2 poblano peppers: roasted, peeled, and seeds removed (I just roasted them over the burner of my gas stove-top until well-charred on all sides, placed in a brown paper bag to steam as they cooled before removing the clear translucent skin and seeding)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pepitas
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Pulse until the basil and poblanos are pureed and the pesto has a smooth consistency.

Because of the lemon juice this will store better then most pesto without discoloring. That said, if refrigerated I try to use it within a day or two. If I’m going to keep it longer than that I put the pesto in a small jar (4-ounce mason jars work well), covered with a thin layer of olive oil, then freeze.

Pesto is traditionally served with pasta, but I used it as a topping for grilled bison flank steak and thought it was terrific! Tomorrow I’m going to try turning some of the leftover pesto into a salad dressing for fresh local tomatoes. If it works out, I’ll make another post.

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