Pesto and Caprese

Pesto and Caprese

I didn’t ever have pesto until I was in college and went over to an Italian friend’s house.  Luckily, my first experience with pesto was of the homemade variety, rather than the preservative-laden jarred variety, so I was immediately transported into gourmet heaven with my first bite.  It wasn’t until I was married, with a couple basil plants on the deck of our condo, that I actually made pesto, and also Caprese (pronounced kah-pray-say, but I didn’t find that out till later).  

Needless to say, both became a summertime staple in our house, and one of my first requests when we moved to Tucson was for my husband to work out a way for me to have herbs.  He likes pesto as much or more than I do, so he worked very hard this spring to mount herb baskets, and then to work out a way to shade them when we realized they were getting pre-dried before we could pick them.  When we came back from a two-week vacation in Maine, we had two luxurious basil plants and the only thing I could reasonably do was to make a double batch of pesto and Caprese.  I mean, you can’t let all that lusciousness go to waste, can you??

We couldn’t.

Pesto and Caprese
Basil pesto and Caprese salad
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2930 calories
31 g
238 g
282 g
83 g
69 g
842 g
2708 g
11 g
0 g
199 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 2930
Calories from Fat 2478
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 282g
Saturated Fat 69g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 34g
Monounsaturated Fat 165g
Cholesterol 238mg
Sodium 2708mg
Total Carbohydrates 31g
Dietary Fiber 6g
Sugars 11g
Protein 83g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  2. 2 large cloves garlic
  3. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  4. 2 TBS grated Romano cheese (or use more Parmesan)
  5. 1/4 cup pine nuts, walnut or pecan halves, or pistachios
  6. 1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  7. salt and pepper to taste (don't add much salt, especially if you've used pistachios)
  1. fresh mozzarella (yes, fresh!)
  2. ripe tomatoes
  3. basil leaves
  4. 1/2 cup olive oil
  5. 1/2 cup lemon juice
  6. salt and pepper to taste
  1. Put all the dry ingredients in a food processor (I find it's helpful to put the leaves in first, and then weight them down with the other ingredients) and process until roughly chopped. Add oil in a thin stream until the consistency is good. Pesto shouldn't be a puree though, so take it easy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a good sourdough or asiago bread.
  1. Slice the tomatoes and lay them on a platter. I usually skip the end pieces and eat them later with the dressing. Lay a basil leaf on each tomato. Smaller tomato pieces can have half leaves. Slice the mozzarella and place a piece on each tomato. For the big mozzarella logs, we usually use half a slice or a quarter of a slice. For baby mozzarella, you can still half or quarter the small balls.
  2. Mix equal amounts of olive oil and lemon juice (some people use balsamic instead of lemon juice), and add about a 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper. Pour over the tomatoes.
  1. I found out that Caprese is called a tricolore salad because it uses the three colors of the Italian flag. Salute!
Adapted from various sources
Adapted from various sources
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