Saturday, September 11, 2010

Basil Pesto

We are on the town today so I won’t be cooking but I’ll be making some summer pesto.

     One of the joys of having an herb garden is the ready availability throughout the summer of fresh beautiful basil. I have always loved the smell and taste of basil, and growing it myself has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have found in the garden.

Today I will share my recipe for basil pesto and in future posts I'll show how I incorporate it's summer freshness throughout the winter months.

I gather about 2 packed cups of basil leaves and wash them thoroughly
then set them aside.

I place 2 fat garlic cloves in my food processor and finely mince them
I put also process Parmesan cheese till I get about ½ cup grated
I set both of these ingredients aside

In the bowl of the processor I add 1/3 cup of
Either pinion nuts or walnuts.
Pinion nuts are harvest from pine cones and they can be quite costly
Walnuts are a very tasty alternative and I love the flavor

I pulse the nuts several times add the basil and process till fine
Slowly adding nearly ½ cup olive oil
When the oil is incorporated with the nuts and basil I add the garlic,cheese, (salt & pepper to taste.)

To preserve this pesto I portion it into rubberized ice cube trays and freeze the trays. When solid I wrap each pesto cube in plastic and store them in a freezer bag. This allows me to pull out and use one or two cubes at a time.

This recipe usually yields between 16-20 basil cubes.
I’ll be posting lots of great basil recipes so stay tuned.

TIP OF THE DAY: Herbs have many uses beyond the scattered sprinkling of dry flakes over your stockpot. There are times, as with pesto, that herbs are the star of the dish. I’ve infused herbs in teas, sorbets, pot au feu and even baked goods. Grow herbs and learn new ways to use them. You will be glad you did. 

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