Pesto Time!

It’s fall and we are getting a TON of rain. I had to cut the basil plants down today, so I thought I would harvest everything and make pesto! I can’t wait to have a yummy Friday night dinner of pesto on brown rice pasta.

This year we had amazing, productive basil plants that I grew from organic seeds. Below you can see my basil sprouts, and then the final product. Keep in mind that I’ve also been harvesting basil tops so far this summer, too! The secret to growing good basil (other than nice weather)… don’t water the plants from overhead, but underneath on the soil. I had a automatic watering pot with a well on the bottom cavity of the pot. Also if you live in a very hot climate, basil will need some shade. I also clipped the flowers off before they could develop, to ensure that the plant made more leaves than flowers.

Tips for making Pesto

  • Try blending less and making it chunky, like the picture, for a more rustic pesto.
  • To make pesto sauce – blend 1 cup pesto with 1/2 to 1 cup of broth.
  • This is great on rice pasta, but also wonderful on meats and especially fish… my favorite is pesto salmon. Sally also recommends it on corn-on-the-cob!
  • You can also make this recipe using cilantro instead of basil.
  • This recipe freezes well. If I freeze I add maybe a 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid (used in cheese making) to each 1/2 cup of pesto. If you don’t do this it will look fine while sealed but when you open it, the pesto will oxidize and turn dark green. We have still eaten it this way and it’s fine but more pleasing with the original green color.

Basil Pesto

Difficulty:

Easy

Page in NT: 144

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1/4 cup crispy pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup good quality grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Equipment:

  • Food Processor
  • Silicone Spatula

Preparation:

Place basil leaves in food processor. Pulse until well chopped. Add garlic, salt, pine nuts and cheese and blend well. Using attachment for adding liquids drop by drop, and with motor running, add olive oil to form a thick paste. Pesto will keep several days, well sealed, in refrigerator; or it may be frozen.

Photo courtesy of ImipolexG on Flickr

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