The last days of summer sent my herbs, and especially the basil, soaring…to the sky. Not necessarily where one wants them to go. It’s almost as if the plants had trunks instead of stalks. In all my years of growing basil, I’ve never had plants get so large. They were reminiscent of Jack and his beanstalk! I’m talking huge. And huge plants meant lots and lots of basil. Enter pesto. Lots and lots of pesto. My poor food processor was working overtime. Yet, I couldn’t help but be extremely thankful that I did indeed have a food processor! With that magnificent machine pesto is easy peasy to make. And did I mention the color? Gorgeous green!And do you know what I learned? Pesto freezes well, too! I put my ice cube trays to work and froze the pesto in approximately 1/2 Tablespoon servings and stowed the cubes away for a mid-winter treat. Once frozen, I remove the “cubes” from the trays and store them in a freezer bag [carefully removing all air when sealing]. If the pesto is being used in something like a pasta dish, I just toss the frozen cube in the pan and let the heat do the “defrosting”. On a recent day, while I was out snipping fresh herbs from the plants, I discovered a visitor. Well, not “a” visitor…but two. In my curly parsley I found two of the most colorful caterpillars I’ve ever seen. They were Black Swallowtail Caterpillars. I know because I looked it up! If you care to see the Black Swallowtail Butterfly, head over to Kim Smith Designs to see her beautiful photos. My last bit of curiosity, in regards to the caterpillars, is why they didn’t seem to like the flat leaf parsley. Personally, I prefer the flat leaf…anyways, just curious. 🙂
But, back to the pesto…. Like I said, with the use of a food processor, it’s very easy to make. The recipe I use is from Ina Garten. I find the recipe delicious and classic. The ingredients are few… fresh basil, pine nuts, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan, salt and pepper. A few spins in the processor and voila…delicious pesto. Enjoy.
Garden Basil Pesto
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
3 Tablespoons chopped garlic [rough chop]
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Place the walnuts, pine nuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil and plastic wrap pressed directly on top to keep the air [your enemy] from the surface.
One final note…after I finished typing this post and scheduled it for publishing, I took a peek to see what some of my blogger friends where up to. Lo and behold…Sue@Birgerbird had posted a pesto recipe too! But, Sue’s version uses a beautiful purple basil. You must check it out to see the gorgeous color that purple basil provided!