Thursday, August 25, 2011

Basil Pesto

I use basil pesto a lot around here, and I don't have an actual post dedicated to it, so I thought I'd do that.  Last weekend we picked up a ton of fresh basil at the local organic farm.  I made a big batch of pesto that night, before it had time to go bad on me.  (Fresh herbs like to do that around here, especially basil).  I also picked up two heads of beautiful-looking garlic.

I don't really measure things when I make this, but I'll try to do my best here.  I just add the oil in until it looks good, trying not to use too much.  A food processor is best for making this (unless you want to do it the old-fashioned way... using a mortar and pestle.  I don't, though....)
Since this made such a big batch and I didn't need to use it right away, I decided to try my hand at freezing it for the first time.  I don't have regular-sized ice cube trays, but rather tiny ones, so I didn't want to use those.  I searched online and one site suggested to use a mini-muffin tin to freeze them in, so that's what I did.  I sprayed each tin lightly with olive oil cooking spray, spooned in some pesto, froze it for a few hours, and then popped them out (use a butter knife if they don't release easily).  I then put them into a large freezer bag and stuck it in the freezer.  Work fast when getting the pesto into the freezer again- it melts very quickly!

Use your pesto as a dip for fresh veggies, pretzels or toasted bread pieces, or on potatoes, pasta, or pizza!
Basil Pesto

4-5 oz. fresh basil, rinsed
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1/2 -3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (use more or less)
1/3 -1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry skillet
juice of 1/2 medium lemon
1/2 cup shredded or grated parmesan or romano cheese
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1.  Place the basil in your food process with a metal blade. Pulse for a few seconds to break down the leaves a little. Add the garlic and pine nuts. With the food processor running, stream the olive oil into it through the open push chute. Add lemon juice, cheese, salt and pepper and pulse again until blended to your preference.

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