Sunday, October 2, 2011

Basil Pesto

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The basil in my garden has gone crazy.  I suddenly have tons of it.  I thought it was all pretty much dead and burned out from the heat and lack of rain.   But in the last few weeks we have had a lot of rain and the temperatures have dropped.  The evil Bermuda invaded and pretty much choked out my tomatoes and peppers, and radishes.  And the deer ate every bit of my Swiss chard down to the nub.  The view from my kitchen window told me the basil was all dead but once I actually walked out there and took a closer look, the basil was anything but dead.  It regenerated itself  and it’s the lone survivor of summer.  And there is lots.New Camera Photos 023

Lots and lots.  I went out and picked a big bowl full and brought it into the house and washed it and laid it out on a fresh kitchen towel to dry.

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 I decided to make Basil Pesto with all of it and got to work shredding a wedge of Parmesan cheese.  Basil Pesto is one of those things that I kind of just put together in my food processor.  But today I took some notes so that I could write down some measurements.    The big bowl of basil that I picked ended up making two batches. 

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I took about half of the basil leaves and put them in a 4 cup measuring cup.  I packed it in.  I used a whole grated  wedge of Parmesan cheese per batch.  I used the juice of 1/2 of a lemon, 1/4 cup of pine nuts and about 5 peeled cloves of garlic with about 1/2 cup of olive oil. 

I did not add salt which I usually do but the Parmesan cheese was salty enough and so I left it out.  I would taste your pesto and if needed add the salt in then.

Here is the recipe:

Basil Pesto

4 cups of basil, washed, dried, and packed into the measuring cup.

5 cloves of garlic, peeled

1/4 cup of pine nuts

1 wedge (about 8oz or half a pound) of Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 lemon, juiced and seeded

1/2 cup olive oil

Add the basil leaves to the bowl of your food processor.  Add the garlic, pine nuts, grated Parmesan cheese, and the lemon juice.  Turn on machine and slowly add the olive oil through the top in a slow stream as the machine is running.  Scrape the bowl down a few times in between processing.  Process until you have a nice spreadable consistency.  Add more olive oil to thin it out if you need to. 

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For each batch that I made I was able to get about 5 mini jelly jars of pesto. 

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I filled each jar with the Basil Pesto and then I drizzled some olive oil on top to help keep the pesto a bright green.  (basil pesto will oxidize and turn brown and the olive oil helps keep the air out.)  Then I put the lids and bands on them.  Store it in the refrigerator and I would use it up within a week or two.  Freeze the rest.

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Basil Pesto is great on pasta and chicken.  I have added it to the top of soups like Minnestrone, spread it on hot Italian bread and of course its fabulous on bruschetta.  You can either spread some on your bread slice and then add the bruschetta topping or prepare your bruschetta and then add a dollop of pesto on top.  The bruschetta at The Village Tavern is made this way with a dollop on top and shards of Parmesan cheese with capers scattered on top. I LOVE their bruschetta. 

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  I still have a bunch of basil still out in the garden waiting to be picked.  I’ll probably be making Basil Pesto all week long now.  As long as we don’t get an early frost, I still have lots of time to get to it.  

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Basil Pesto freezes well and so this winter we should be well stocked.  And I have more than enough for friends and neighbors.  How about you?  Do you like Basil Pesto?  Ever made it?  And how to you like to serve it?  I would love to hear your ideas. 


Jo said...

Lucky you! You'll be enjoying pesto for awhile. My basil had such a time just staying alive this year.


Anonymous said...

Love basil pesto but am the only one in the house that does... darn him.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

My recipe is very similar to yours. I do like the addition of lemon juice. We like to spread our pesto on salmon and then grill it. Delicious!

Flavia Galasso said...

I love BAsil Pesto, we call it Pesto alla GEnovese, that's the best, because basil near GEnova (Pra) is the best for pesto....of course I got some Pesto GEnovese in the freezer, have a nice Sunday, hugs, Flavia

The enchanted home said...

Lisa...I LOVE this post. Your pictures are totally magazine worthy!! Thanks for sharing the recipe, I LOVE pesto and so does my oldest son who doesnt' live at home anymore but a sure fire way to have him come home is to tell him I will make pesto and tortellini!! SO you gave me a great idea..thanks! This sounds amazing. I am printing it out and bookmarking this and love the idea of freezing it in those adorable little jars. (we all know when something looks cute its even better)!! Thanks....

Claudia said...

WOW You've just done a perfect italian pesto!!!!! I love it!

René said...

Yum! One of my favorite products of summer. We all love it here. Yes, it was cold yesterday and I think even colder today. Just returned from a run in shorts, brrr.

rkramadh said...

I love basil pesto. Some times I add walnuts along with pine nuts. One trick I learned is that if you blanche the leaves in hot water and then use the basil leaves (throw out the hot water), the pesto stays green in the fridge for weeks! Will be making some tonight, thanks for the inspiration. My first time on your site and I love it! -rk- moved from Montreal and still in MI:)!

CosmoGirl Carla said...

Mmmm . . . love pesto. Your's looks super yummy. I made some earlier this season. I'm the only one who likes it, so I bet what's left in frig I should toss. I should've frozen it. Darn! My basil's down for the count. Too many cool nights and too much rain pretty much did it in.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

This looks delicious! I've only made pesto once, this past summer, and it was delicious. My friend Susan at From Beyond My Kitchen Window gave me the recipe. It was delicious. I see she's been here for a visit too! LOL!!! I'll have to add lemon the next time I make it!

I did learn from Susan that it's great to freeze in an ice cube tray, then you can just pop them out and drop in to soups or other dishes!

Thanks for a great recipe, love all the photos, they are just beautiful!