A pesto primer

It’s that season, when the tomatoes are at their peak and the basil is growing faster then we can cut so it’s time to make our year’s supply of pesto. Here’s a little photo tutorial in case (gasp!) you’ve never made it!

First you have my lovely daughter pick a huge bucket of basil for you….wait…no, you’re supposed to come and buy that from us at market!

At this point you have to decide if you need to wash your basil. Ideally your basil has been well mulched and you just got a lovely rain to wash it right before it was picked…okay, so this year hasn’t been ideal. Maybe we should wash it.

Then of course you get to pick all the leaves off the stems. This is the hardest part of the job…well, not really hard, just a little time consuming. But the fragrance in the air will make it all worth it.

Garlic would be the next ingredient to gather. Mine of course looks rather ratty since we tend to sell the good stuff and use the “not so pretty” stuff. Oh well, it all tastes great.

Some sort of nuts is the next critical ingredient. Pine nuts are the typical pesto nut but for the sake of cost we usually use almonds or walnuts. I know, you pesto snobs out there are probably about to have heart failure at this point but considering how much of this we make, I prefer the cheaper ones.

All of these ingredients, along with some olive oil, salt, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese are all blended together until fairly smooth. Doesn’t this look yummy?!

I usually put all the ingredients in except the oil and then poor the oil in while the food processor is running, but for the sake of picture taking, we just dumped it all in.

Once blended we spread it on a cookie sheet and freeze. After it’s frozen, scrape it off, break it into chunks and put it in quart size freezer bags. This is so great to pull out in the winter and put it on pasta, spread it on homemade pizza, or add a dollop of it to tomato soup or anything else you want to spice up with a bit of basil flavor.

Here’s the actual recipe:

 

Basil Pesto

2 1/2 c fresh basil leaves

1/2 c parsley-this is optional but helps it keep its nice green color

1/2 c olive oil

1 T chopped garlic

1/4 t sea salt

1 T lemon juice

1/2 c walnuts, almonds or pine nuts

2 T Parmesan cheese-we usually don’t add this until we’re ready to use it or not at all

Place all in food processor and blend. Use immediately or freeze.

Just so you’ll know, I never actually follow the recipe. Exact measurements are not critical for this, just enjoy!

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