Sundried tomato, black olive & bacon pesto

  • 1 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup nicoise or kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/2 cup pinenuts, lightly toasted
  • 3/4 cup parmesan or asiago cheese, grated
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cooked (crispy) bacon, chopped

Individually process each of the first three ingredients in a food processor until chopped fine. Place each ingredient in a mixing bowl, then add the cheese. Next, process the garlic, vinegar, pepper, and basil until very finely blended. Add basil mixture to mixing bowl and stir to evenly blend ingredients. Add olive oil to achieve desired consistency. If pesto is to be used right away, add bacon, otherwise keep separate until ready to use. This pesto is excellent on croutons for an appetizer, and is also delicious as a topping for grilled polenta, chicken, fish, pork or lamb. It can be frozen for a few weeks. If frozen, leave bacon out and then stir in just before serving. Makes about 3 1/2 cups pesto.