Pecan Pesto (Texas Pecan Pesto)

Special thanks to: JR, Wayne, ME Servings: 16 Directions: 7 Ingredients: 1 Tbsp. Coarse Kosher Salt 5 large Garlic pods - smashed and skinned 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. fresh chopped Habanero Pepper 3/4 to 1 cup salad quality Olive Oil Parsley Leaves, about 3 cups fresh, clean, dry (Large Flat Leaf variety, about 2 bunches) 3/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano Cheese 1 cup fresh Pecan pieces, lightly toasted to bring out nutty sweet flavor Blend garlic, salt, and pepper In 1 quart size Food Processor fitted with knife blade until fairly smooth. Stop processor; tear or sheer parsley leaves from stems and add half the leaves to processor bowl. Process by pulsing to coarsely blend. Drizzle 1/4 cup Olive Oil through feed tube onto running blades over mixture. Stop processor and add remaining parsley leaves, alternating with Olive Oil and process until desired consistency achieved. Transfer seasoned mix to a large mixing bowl; add the cheese and Pecan Pieces or Pecan Meal. At this point, determine if more Olive Oil is needed to achieve a moist consistency. Use immediately for hot Pasta sauce, Bruschetta or Pizza base or as a great spread/dip with tortilla chips. To store in refrigerator or freezer, spoon into canning or other wide mouth container(s), taking care to remove all air bubbles. Smooth surface of the Pecan Pesto and top off with a thin layer of Olive Oil to seal against oxidation. To serve, bring to room temperature, pour off Olive Oil and use desired amount of Pecan Pesto. Do not refreeze. Any remaining Pesto should be "sealed" again before refrigeration. Special Notes: I freeze the Habaneros to make handling & chopping easier. The coarse salt helps to pulverize the garlic into a more uniform consistency. Recipe can also be adapted to use pecan meal. I live in Maine currently but developed my love for this wonderfully spicy Pesto while living in San Angelo, TX. I'm well aware of the healthful qualities of the Pecans and love to use this recipe during food demonstrations/taste testings as part of health education classes. Good quality fresh young Basil is expensive and rarely available in Maine unless I grow my own during our short summer months. Parsley is an excellent herb to replace the Basil and the toasted Pecans adds a wonderful flavor that I greatly prefer over pine nuts. Jean Rocap, RD, LD, CDE

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