I have patiently waited, watching my herb garden in anticipation, Today was the day I had been waiting for. My basil plant was ready for mass harvest today. Once they start flowering it's time to cut them back and make one of my favorite seasonal treats, pesto.
This classic Italian sauce is easy to make and versatile in usage, I keep it on hand for quick dishes. Pesto is traditionally made with pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, basil, and Parmesan cheese. Pesto can be tossed with pasta, added to soups and salads, or used instead of a tomato based sauce on a pizza.. I had better stop there, we are getting into a completely different post.
- ¼ cup coarse-crushed roasted pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cups sweet basil leaves (about 4 ounces)
- ½ cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano Reggiano
- ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- Heat a large dry flat bottomed saute pan over medium heat.
- Add the pine nuts to the pan.
- Pine nuts burn easily so keep them moving by shaking the pan
- Roast until they are fragrant and lightly browned.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let them cool.
- Put the pine nuts in a ziplock bag and seal
- Lightly smash the bag with a heavy skillet to coarsely crush the pine nuts.
- Crush and peel the cloves of garlic.
- Rough chop the garlic.
- Process the pine nuts and garlic until finely minced.
- Add the olive oil and pulse three or 4 times.
- Add basil, Parmesan cheese, and salt to the processor bowl.
- Process until finely minced, scraping down sides.
- add more olive oil if you want to make a thinner looser sauce
- Store for later by pouring the pesto into an airtight container.
- To prevent oxidation add a thin barrier layer of olive oil over the pesto.
- Seal the container and store refrigerated for around 1 week.