Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Basil Pesto

Back in October I wrote a post about my having to purchase my basil from the grocery store (insert dramatic pause here, while I await your very audible gasp). No, I'm really not that hoity-toity. There's nothing wrong with buying fresh basil wherever you can find it. My reason for this post, is to say that this Summer I found a spot in my flower bed to stick a basil plant and I am so glad I did. It's uh, quite prolific.

I was talking to one of my fabulous sisters yesterday and she was telling me how great her basil plant was doing also. She needed some new ideas on how to use all of that basil and I figured others out there might need some suggestions as well. So I'm sharing my recipe for Basil Pesto along with a list (with links) of some of my favorite recipes that call for basil. (scroll down for list of recipes)

Basil Pesto

about 2 cups of packed fresh basil leaves - no stems
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts **
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Lightly toast pine nuts in a dry pan over medium low heat (optional**). Add pine nuts, basil, garlic, cheese, and 1-2 Tablespoons of the olive oil to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the remaining olive oil until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.

**Toasting the pine nuts is completely optional. My husband cannot eat raw pine nuts, but if I lightly toast them, he's fine. Here's another pine nut tip: In the past I've been able to find nice large bags of pine nuts at Costco for a great price. Buy those, and keep them in your freezer - they'll last a LOT longer. Pine nuts tend to go rancid quite quickly, and no one likes to toss those adorable little golden nuggets in the trash.

Some of my favorite recipes using basil:

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Orzo
Pizza Margerita
Fresh Pasta Primavera
Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad
Pesto Chicken Florentine


Christi said...

Andy, Great Blog!! I love it!!
Keep up the great work. I added a link on my blogs to yours.

Lee & Sharon said...

Andy, do you know if your Basil will come back next year?
I have some Italian Parsley and Rosemary in pots so I thought I would just bring them in for the winter. But I am wondering about Basil. Thanks for great food ideas and recipes. Love you blog kiddo.

Brielle said...

We HAD a pretty substantial selection of basil plants on our porch but then our apartment complex management decided to stain all the balconey's while we were out of town and now all our basil plants have a fine layer of tuscan sandalwood stain on them. AHHH!!!! Your post makes me sad. But I love the new search feature. Very cool.

Andy said...

Thank you so much, Christi- I'm so glad you found my blog!

mom - as far as I know, it's too cold here for basil to be a perennial.

Brielle - oh man that stinks!