It’s that time of year where I attempt to make use of the remaining herbs and vegetables in my garden. I’ll dry any herbs that are left and fry up any green tomatoes. For the basil, it’s time to shine! Pesto is an easy way to use up a lot of basil, and it freezes well, so you’ll be able to enjoy that “fresh from the garden” flavor even when the world is covered in a layer of snow.
You’ll need a food processor for this recipe. And be warned, pine nuts are not cheap. You’re best bet is to find a place that sells them in bulk. This will yield one cup of pesto. You will need:
2 cups of packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves of garlic
¼ cup of pine nuts
2/3 a cup of extra-virgin olive oil, divided in two
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse it until coarsely chopped. I only have a small food processor, so I found the best way to do this was to grind up one cup of basil at a time, along with the garlic, and then I added the pine nuts after that. Add ½ cup of oil to the processor until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
If you’re using immediately, add the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto into a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.
If you’re freezing the pesto, transfer it into an air-tight container and drizzle the remaining oil over the top. (This will preserve the pesto). Freeze for up to three months. When you are ready to use it, thaw it and stir in the cheese. You’ll find many uses for pesto besides pasta. See All Things Quesadilla, use it to make pesto may for sandwiches, or spread pesto over a baguette, add some cheese, and toast it in the oven for an easy and delicious appetizer.