Kickin’ Pesto

A very meaty chile pepper that is great to add heat to hot pepper jelly or relish. It can also be stuffed or chopped and used in fresh salsas.

In Italy these first are pickled in vinegar brine then stuffed with ingredients like provolone cheese and prosciutto ham. After being stuffed they are marinated with herbs and olive oil.

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2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
3 cloves of garlic
1 red cherry pepper
1 cup California Olive Ranch extra-virgin olive oil


Wash basil and dry with a paper towel. Pull the leaves off the stems and measure. Place leaves in food processor and pulse to chop.

Place the pine nuts in a small fry pan on medium heat and watch carefully as they toast. You can put them in the oven on 350 degrees F instead, but the oven costs more to heat then the stove top and takes longer.

Keep an eye on the nuts and stir often till they are light brown. Take the pine nuts off the stove and let cool.

Peel garlic cloves and place in processor. With the pepper you can remove the seeds to make it a little milder or only use half the pepper if you really want it mild. I usually use all the pepper without the seeds.

Place pepper in the processor along with the cooled nuts. Process until well blended. Add the cheese and continue to process as you slowly pour the California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil down the processor chute until you get a smooth paste. Add salt to taste. I use this pesto with chicken and pasta.

Serves 4-8.

Recipe by Laurice Burdick.