Every year we plant basil and every year the plants do so well that we can't use it up fast enough. What to do with it all? Basil pesto, of course! Here is a simple recipe. Pesto is usually made to taste, based on the ingredients you have at hand. So simply adjust the ingredients to your own personal taste. Many pesto recipes call for Parmesan cheese, we often use Pecorino which has a stronger flavor. Most basil pesto recipes call for pine nuts but you can easily substitute walnuts. I oftentimes add some pistachio nuts as well.
I’m often asked which variety is my favorite of the basils, but that’s like asking which of my children is the favorite! :) I grow so many and we really enjoy them all.. but I’d have to say, for pesto. Genovese with it’s large leaf and fragrantly sweet essence is the one I’d always choose. I love to sautee some zucchini and red peppers and add the pesto and it’s always great. Try it on cold pasta with artichokes and chicken for a nice summer salad. Or simply spread on a good, crusty Italian bread.It’s so good as a dressing for those abundant fresh garden tomatoes you also haven’t any idea what you will do with. So go on and use up that basil in your garden and be sure to freeze a bit up if you can promise not to dive into it before winter! :)
2-3 cups fresh basil leaves, washed well
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup Pecorino or parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 TBLS fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup pine nuts, pistacchio or walnuts
sea salt & white pepper to taste
· Mix everything together in food processor except the oil and lemon. Be sure to scrape down the sides. You'll want to get every bit of basil in your mix.
· Once everything is mixed well, slowly drizzle in lemon and olive oil.
· Mix again until blended, not pureed but rather, well combined and smooth.
This pesto recipe will make approximately 1 cup and may be store in refrigerator up to 5 days. Enjoy & happy gardening!