Chris' Recipes

Bon Appetite!

Fresh Basil Pesto

Written By: Chris - Jan• 14•13
The Italians have birthright to this savory green sauce called Pesto, that is generally made with bits of basil, fresh garlic, salt & pepper, Parmesan cheese, Pine nuts and olive oil.  I find Pine nuts in bulk at Costco.
During the summer months, while my fresh Basil is in season, I harvest as much as possible and keep it for later use.  I simply remove the leaves and chop the basil while storing it in airtight zip log bags in the freezer.  Throughout the year, I then use the basil in all kinds of dishes.  Although the leaves turns a dark green color, the flavor remains fresh and rich for many months. Although you could use fresh basil of course!  It is a good way to use it up in season and freeze the pesto for future use.
I’ve recently pulled out the AreoGarden (light) and planted “babies” again since a few of my fresh herbs plants have “seen their day” and I had to let them go.  Last week we were excited with the first glimpses of sprouts and new growth!  Since I have several new Basil plants started, along with two Thyme and a Dill plant, I figured it was time to use up a good portion of of the stored basil in the freezer.  I  did keep a small amount, because it is awesome to use in fresh pasta dishes, or to doctor up my favorite canned variety of pasta sauce.
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Ingredients:
8 Cups Fresh Basil (mine was frozen)
1 Cup Roasted Pine Nuts, cooled
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 Cloves Garlic
Salt & Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about 1 Cup, pour in and use to a consistency you like)
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Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium low heat until golden roasted and browned.
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Place the garlic into food processor and pulse until fine.  (You can add more garlic if you prefer!) I think this is just enough.  Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse and grate until fine and then add the pine nuts and puree until pretty smooth.
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Add add half of the chopped basil and mix through, before adding the second half to the mixture.
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Drizzle in the olive oil and taste the mixture, and add a little salt and pepper to your liking.
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I used a bit more Parmesan than this recipe reads, because the chunk of cheese I grated was larger than I would have normally used. There are no real rules for making pesto, but as long as you make it fresh and use the best ingredients, it’ll always taste superb.  Pesto is delicious as a sandwich spread and as a layer in any appetizer dip.  It adds flavor to sauces and soups.  You can spread it on any thin cut of meat or fish, then coat with bread crumbs and for a quick and tasty dish.  You can mix it into mayonnaise which then makes a fabulous salad dressing and it is particularly good in pasta salads.  You may wish to stir it directly onto hot pasta for a savory side dish!  One might choose to mix it with cream cheese and use as a filler, or simply stir it into rice or mashed potatoes.  It is very versatile!
Store in the fridge.  Adding a bit of oil on top helps it last longer.  You can also use airtight containers and/or ice cube trays to make smaller portions.
Enjoy!
Cheers!
~Chris

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One Comment

  1. Laura T says:

    Pesto is a favorite in our house. It goes great as a pizza sauce too! So many uses. Smart to freeze your basil! Toasting the pine nuts to bring out the flavor of the nuts is a great idea!

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