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This is my favorite salad dressing. It takes about 5 minutes to make and is so much tastier than the store bought versions.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon minced (finely chopped) fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

Preparation

In a small bowl combine above ingredients. Whisk in the oil until smooth. A fork will work just fine if a whisk is not available.

Balsemic Vinaigrette

Spoon over salad and enjoy. I made this to have with romaine lettuce with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from my garden.

Garden Salad

You can vary the ingredients according to taste. A 3 or 4 to 1 ratio of oil to vinegar is best. Start with that and add more vinegar if desired.

The dijon mustard is an emulsifier, it keeps the oil and vinegar from separating. I only use a small amount because too much mustard will overpower the dressing.

For a less garlicy taste, instead of crushing the garlic clove in a press, pierce it with a knife and let it sit in the oil for about an hour and remove before adding the oil to the ingredients. Another option is to add a teaspoon or two of minced parsley, which will cut the intensity of the garlic.

This dressing will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

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Mezze Penne with Pesto

This is a light and tasty pesto recipe adapted from a few authentic Italian ones that I have tried.

Ingredients

  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 36 basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Half pound of penne pasta

Preparation

Using a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, salt and pine nuts. Don’t make a paste, just lightly crush. Using a knife with a sharp blade chop the basil and add to the mortar. Gradually add the cheese. Transfer to a mini food processor and add the oil. Pulse several time to mix the ingredients. Cook pasta to taste, drain and add pesto.

Makes 4 servings.

Tips and suggestions: (more…)

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