Thursday, September 1, 2011


The mid-to-late-summer garden is one of my favorite times. Who can resist vine-ripe tomatoes still warm from the sun, or cheery zinnia blossoms?

Another seasonal favorite is basil, Ocimum basilicum. So easy to grow from seeds that I just scatter a seed packet and rake it in. A few months later an overly bountiful and wonderfully fragrant basil crop demands harvest and preserving. An extremely tasty and simple way to preserve basil is to make a pulverized mix of basil leaves and olive oil that is known as pesto.

Incorporating a few other tasty ingredients, my pesto recipe is excellent as a pasta topping, toasted bread spread, or condiment. My method of storage is freezing. Due to the oil in the mix it thaws quickly and it easily brings a taste of summer to the winter table.

1/4 cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, peel and lightly crush -I find it easiest to do this simultaneously by crushing lightly with the broad side of a knife blade. The skins will fall off.
2 cups packed basil leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
black pepper to your taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated hard cheese of your choice -Parmesan, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano etc...

Wash, dry, and pack 2 cups of fresh basil leaves.

Toast the pine nuts lightly in a 450˚ oven, or in a skillet on the stove and stir if needed. Pine nuts brown/burn quickly so watch carefully!

Place first five ingredients in a food processor and pulse until coarsely combined.

With processor running, drizzle in olive oil. Add cheese and blend until just incorporated.

I spoon pesto into freezer bags and freeze for up to one year, although it never lasts that long. ;^)

1 comment:

  1. I love pesto! Our recipe is similar but we usually use walnuts instead of the pine nuts.