Saturday, July 12, 2008

My Favorite Basil Pesto & More

Fresh Picked Sweet Basil

My basil plants are not that big this season, at least not yet, but I did manage to give my biggest plant an all over "haircut" and harvested enough leaves to make one batch of my favorite basil pesto so far. I usually make a batch of pesto and then freeze at least half of it in small plastic containers (recycled yogurt cups) to use later. It keeps very well in the freezer for quite a long time. My favorite way to enjoy it is on nice hot freshly boiled pasta. Bow tie pasta being my very favorite. I have also used it on pizza dough, sandwiches and in salad dressings.

Here's my favorite basil pesto recipe that I found long ago in the cookbook "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines: China, Greece & Rome" by Jeff Smith. I modified the recipe just a bit.

Basil Pesto

(recipe can be halved or quartered successfully if you don’t have 4 cups basil)

4 Cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, big stems removed
¼ Cup raw pine nuts, walnuts or almonds
½ Cup extra virgin olive oil, dark
At least 2 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed, more if desired
Season with black pepper or lemon pepper to taste
½ Cup grated parmesan or Romano cheese, or a blend of both

Put basil leaves in the food processor. Add the nuts, olive oil, garlic, and pepper seasoning. Process until all are chopped very fine and blended, but not really smooth. Remove pesto from processor and stir in the grated cheese. Serve on fresh hot pasta, in soups as a garnish, mix into mayo on sandwiches, salad dressings etc.

This recipe makes about 2 Cups of Pesto. Store it in the refrigerator for no more than a few days, covered. Freezes well and keeps for months in the freezer without losing taste.

Stealth Veggies

While I was in here last night blogging and boasting about how prolific zucchini can be, my zucchini plants were stealthily growing huge specimens for me to find amongst their big leaves this morning. I picked 3 large zukes totalling 3 1/4 pounds. I swear none of them were out there yesterday! Here come the zucchinis...

Sneaky Zucchinis

© Copyright 2008 Mountain Harvest Basket


Hardware Bob said...

I love pesto and I love making it. It's good on just about everything imaginable. My own basil plants are closely arriving to harvest day ,and I can hardly wait.

The recipe suggested is absolute perfection, I have used it many many time, but I do add a lot more garlic.

For fish dishes, like baked salmon, I like to add some fresh tarragon to the pesto recipe for a perfect yummy garnish.

Don't forget to label the container.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Oh for some warmer weather! Up here in Oregon our basil is limping along, but we have faith in it. We also love pesto, and usually have a dozen or so packages in the freezer by the time we leave. I'm sure gonna try that tarragon with pesto idea. Thanks Hardware Bob. We'll be getting some salmon when we head over to the coast.

Lulu Barbarian said...

Very nice pesto! The first time I tried to make pesto I only had about three basil leaves, but I foolishly tried anyway. I wound up with a teaspoon of something that didn't resemble pesto at all. :-P

I've done better since then, and like Hardware Bob, have enjoyed making pestos with other herbs as well. Haven't tried tarragon though, that's a good suggestion.

Anil P said...

Fabulous feel to the fresh veggies. It must be inviograting to be tending to a farm, watching your efforts take shape in the form of these succulents.

Farmer Jen said...

Hi Bob,
Your pesto is good, and the addition of the fresh tarragon is very good on salmon. I labeled the containers.

Hi CA Grammy,
You can have some of our warm(scorching hot)weather if you want. We have plenty to spare.

Hi Lulu,
Your pesto story is so sad. Good that you recovered from that experience and went onto create great pesto. The tarragon is a fun addition. I like cilantro pesto too, if I can get enough fresh herb.

Hi Anil P,
Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment. Yes, the fresh vegetables are wonderful to grow, cook and eat.