It is basil season. We have harvested the plants in our back yard, and many stalls at the farmers market have big, beautiful bunches of basil picked just that morning. That means it is time for pesto.
Pesto is really one of those things that you can make without a recipe and adjust it to your personal preferences
Pesto is also something that you can keep for a while. For years we made fresh pesto and ate it all, believing that if you didn’t do that it would immediately turn an unappetizing brown. We didn’t even think about freezing it. The truth is, you can do both.
If you want to keep it for a day or two, put it in a container with an air-tight lid, cover it completely with olive oil, seal the lid, and pop it in the refrigerator. If you are going to freeze it, divide it into amounts that fit into the cups of a muffin pan, freeze pan overnight, pop out the pesto “muffins”, and double bag them in zippered freezer bags so you can use the amount you need without having to thaw the whole batch.
- large bunch of freshly-cut basil, enough that the leaves will fit into the beaker of a food processor
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, more if needed to make a sauce-like mixture
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 ounces Parmesan, grated
- ½ cup pine nuts
- salt and pepper
- Wash the fresh basil, cut or pull off the leaves, and dry them in a clean kitchen towel.
- Transfer the leaves to the beaker of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade.
- Add the olive oil and process until the basil has been chopped very finely.
- Add the garlic and Parmesan. Continue to process for 30 seconds or until thoroughly combined.
- Add the pine nuts and pulse until the nuts are well-chopped but not puréed. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Adjust consistency with additional olive oil, if needed.
- Serve over cooked pasta with additional grated Parmesan and dry-roasted pine nuts. If desired, store for a day or two in an air-tight container topped with olive oil and refrigerated or freeze and double bag individual portions for later use.
PS: Here’s a little lagniappe from our garden: