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With such a bumper crop of basil, a pesto-making session is in order!  Pesto is extremely simple to make, freezes well, and adds a burst of flavour to pasta, veggies, sandwiches, chicken, or whatever else you want to spread it on.

To make pesto, you only need five basic ingredients:

Fresh basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic and pine nuts.

If you are cooking without dairy you can substitute nutritional yeast for the cheese and still end up with a yummy pesto.

Pine nuts can be expensive.  I have successfully substituted sunflower seeds for the pine nuts, but you could also try using other nuts such as almonds or pecans for a completely different flavour.  (If you really want to go wild you could substitute another green herb such as cilantro or parsley and create a completely different kind of pesto, the possibilities are really endless!)

Take out your trusty food processor (before I had a food processor I used a mini chopper and that worked ok too, although I had to make the pesto in smaller batches) and throw in about 2 cups of fresh basil leaves, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp. grated parmesan, 1 clove chopped garlic, and 1/4 cup pine nuts.  Season with salt and pepper.  Blend until it turns into a green paste.

That’s it!   (Easy, peasy)

Freezer room in my house is scarce, so I freeze my pesto in sandwich-size plastic bags – just scoop it in and press it flat and freeze.  I have also read that you can freeze it in glass jars with a layer of olive oil on top to maintain the colour. 

Pesto adds beautiful flavour to foods all year round.  A winter favourite is to serve it over roasted root vegetables, but in the summer I keep it simple by tossing it with pasta and some fresh garden tomatoes. 

Have you ever made pesto?  How do you like to use it?

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