Saturday, January 3, 2009

a whole lotta basil...

... puts a smile on my face, albeit green speckle toothed.

One of my family's favorite foods is pesto. We put it on pasta, use it as a pizza sauce, and we generally consume a lot of it. We nearly always have this staple on hand, but our supply was nearly depleted. So I bought two bags of basil at our local Cash and Carry yesterday and made a few batches to have in the freezer. As many times as I've tried growing basil, I'm always disappointed with the amount I yield. The growing season is so short here, I would need a greenhouse to be successful at growing these precious plants. Needless to say, I was ecstatic the day I discovered the large bags of fresh organic basil just down the street at a very reasonable price.

basil leaves

Here's my pesto recipe:

3 cups fresh basil leaves
3-4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup or a handful of pine nuts
1/4 cup good olive oil

Remove leaves from stems. Wash leaves and spin dry in a salad spinner.
In a food processor add 3-4 cloves of garlic and 3 cups or so of the leaves... these should be placed loosely. I have a smaller 7 cup capacity processor.

basil leaves

Grate the parmesan and add it to the leaves and garlic
pesto ingredients

Measure out the pine nuts and throw them into the food processor
pesto ingredients

Measure out about 1/4 cup of olive oil and add it to the mix
pesto ingredients

Pulse the food processor for about 10 seconds. Run a spatula around the sides and blend for another 10 seconds or so until it resembles this consistency without any large leaf pieces...

This recipe makes enough to fill one of these small size deli containers, which is the perfect amount to mix into a package of linquine noodles.

I repeated the recipe 6 times to make these batches for the freezer. These containers stack very nicely too.
tower of pesto

Voilà ... dinner!



JackeeG4glamorous said...

Is Pesto fattening? I think Pine nuts have some fat in them. Looks Yummy though!!!

Cindy said...

Fattening.... nahhhhhh! It's full of healthy fats. All in moderation, that's my motto.

Susan said...

Cindy, those are gorgeous pics of your pesto processing! I love pesto and put some in the freezer from my crop last summer. We had a drought and my basil did exceptionally well. I plant it right in the flower garden, because it has the best soil and the most sunshine.

You can't go wrong with mono-unsaturated fats!

Susan said...

Oops, I forgot! Love your picture, so cute.

My brother-in-law is a graphic designer in Alexandria, VA.

Fannie said...

I freeze mine too - alas I am the only one who really loves it, so I'm usually alone when I eat it.

Cindy said...

Fannie, I'm so sorry you have to eat pesto alone. It's not a solitary act. You can't be the only one with green teeth and garlic breath amongst those who do not partake.

Cindy said...

Thank you Susan. So is that the key to growing pesto, no water? I'll have to try that. After this cold wet winter, we're due for a hot dry summer here.

Susan said...

I think the key is well-drained soil and not OVER-watering and lots of sunshine. I guess I should have been more explanatory the first time. This post has made me anticipate Spring more than any other! Can't wait to set out some basil!

Cindy said...

Susan, did you notice I said "growing pesto?" I meant "growing basil." They're one and the same to me! Thanks for the tips!!