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.
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?