Hello, my name is Laura, and I love pesto –
It’s true, I really do! As I made a list last year of what I missed in my garden, basil was the herb at the top of the list. I did receive the gift of basil from a friend, but ALMOST ran out of basil pesto, which was almost tragic! Not this year – I just made my second batch of pesto today, in a jiff!, and it reminded me that other might be thinking, “What should I do with allllll this basil?!”
The answer, my friend, is not blowing in the wind – the answer is here: make pesto!
Pesto just means, ‘pulverized sauce’, in basic terms – so though we commonly think of basil pesto when we think of pesto, pesto can be made out of many things – tomatoes, black beans, cilantro, etc —
But today, I’ll tell you about basil pesto. Referring to my favorite cookbook (“Simply In Season, we know, we know!” the regular followers of my blog are all thinking!), pesto is “a very forgiving recipe”, and I would quite agree.
Here’s how I make mine:
1 – fill up my food processor (I have a 4 c. bowl) with basil leaves, and, as long as they aren’t excessive, some stems won’t hurt the process either, and will save you time and brown fingernails from picking all the leaves off one by one (which I sometimes do, but sometimes don’t – it really depends on how much time I have)
2- add 1/4 cup of nuts – pine nuts are traditional, but are a little too rich for my blood. I’ve used walnuts, soynuts, and sunflower seeds (all raw, unsalted, un-anything-ed).
3 – Add a glug of olive oil – about a 1/4 C. Add a half tsp. salt, then as you go, see if its is salty enough for you. I like to add garlic as well (fresh is best – 1/2 to a full clove, or even more, to taste) and some add Parmesan cheese right away, too (since I freeze mine, I do not add the fresh grated Parmesan at this point).
4. Process, scrape down sides, judge if you need more oil, process, scrape down sides, repeat.
Put in a jar, and then add some additional olive oil on top, letting it filter through any ‘holes’ in your pesto. Use a butter knife to get out the air pockets, and make sure the top is covered with oil to avoid getting brown and gross-looking.
I make a few jars at a time, and keep one in the fridge, and freeze the rest!
And what do I use it for? Throw over veggies, toss with pasta, spread over chicken or fish, make pesto french fries, put in mayo and use on a sandwich – and I bet there are plenty more uses out there, too!
This really takes only 15 or so minutes, and is a great way to preserve a bounty of basil – Enjoy!