Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Psst--Make Me Please Pesto

As I was rushing around yesterday--to the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker (O.K., I really went to Hobby Lobby where all candles were 50% off)--my basil called out to me.  "Please, harvest me before I turn bitter.  Take this perfect opportunity to turn me into pesto for the freezer."  That's what I heard as I passed it coming in from the garage.  So, I grabbed the kitchen scissors and lopped off the still tasty green leaves, added some garlic, walnuts and olive oil and ended up with a cupful for the freezer.  It will actually make almost two cups when I add the parmesan just before using.  I've found that adding it before freezing causes a separation in the sauce that, while not harming the taste, doesn't look very appetizing.

Here's my recipe for pesto--a variation of a number of recipes that I've tried over the years.  Truth be told, I don't even measure any more.  


3 cups fresh basil leaves
3 cloves of garlic (or to taste)
1 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup good quality olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Pulse the garlic and nuts a few times.  Add the basil and process until well chopped together.  If you are going to use the pesto within a few days, add the cheese now.  If you plan to freeze the pesto, add the cheese when you have defrosted and are ready to use.  With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil until the consistency you desire.  Add salt and pepper to taste.