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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Positively Pesto

Every summer I grow a big pot of basil on my back patio.  The great thing about growing basil (besides the obvious) is that you don't have to have any skill in the garden.  This is a good thing for me because I am not much of an "outside" person and gardening is dirty.   I don't like dirty.  But basil pretty much does its own thing and grows bountifully without much effort.

Basil is my go-to summer herb.  I throw it into just about everything.  It adds a nice little sparkle to sauces and salads.  It is also the star ingredient in pesto, which, in my opinion, is one of the real treats of summer.

Pesto is a snap to make.  Classic pesto is just the beginning.  Sometimes, when I'm feeling adventurous I use spinach or peppery arugula instead of basil.  Anyway you make it, pesto just screams summer.

And the really nice news is that summer doesn't have to end when you've picked the last of the basil.  You can freeze pesto in ice cube trays so that you can enjoy summer's bounty all winter long.  The delicious pesto will transport you right back to summer even in the dead of winter.

Recipe:  Pesto

* Note:  Be adventurous!  Substitute walnuts for the pine nuts and/or spinach or arugula for the basil.


1/2 cup pine nuts
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino


Place the pine nuts, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15-20 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 cheese and puree for an additional minute or two, until smooth. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator.  You can also freeze the pesto in ice cube trays.  Cover each cube with a thin film of olive oil before freezing.

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