A few months ago I grabbed a 6-inch, 3 dollar basil plant from the cart outside Trader Joe’s.
I need a few leaves every now and then to make our favorite summer drink, the Basil & Grapefruit Summer Refresher.
I nonchalantly planted it in the front flower beds, and forgot about it.
I guess it’s happy there,……… because now it’s a bush.
Actually, it WAS a bush.
After chopping down most of it, and giving it a good wash, I was left with a colander full of fragrant basil leaves.
I’d say, about 6 cups of it. Oy vey
This little processor was a gift many years ago. It’s just the right size to turn a can of chickpeas into creamy hummus.
I filled it with roughly chopped basil, drizzled on olive oil, and Pulse/Choped until it became a fine paste.
Something like this.
I continued working in small batches until all my basil was ground into about 2 pounds of mash.
I could stop here and freeze it in small batches……..but no, I kept going.
Let’s turn it into pesto.
All it needs is toasted pine nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese.
I’ve had this small, about 10 inches across, Caphalon pan forever. It’s the perfect size for toasting pine nuts……and not really much else.
I heat the pan on a high flame, add a 1/2 ounce bag of pine nuts and immediately turn the flame down to low. I keep shaking the pan over low heat for about a minute until every last pine nut is golden brown. Careful not to burn any.
Then chop the toasted pine nuts, a few cloves of minced garlic, and a scoop of the basil mixture in the processor.
Mix the pine nut/garlic mixture into the my already masserated basil.
Then fold in a 6 ounce tub of grated parmesan cheese
After a few tastes, I balance out the flavor by adding salt and cracked pepper.
Now I transfer my pesto to jars and add a 1/4 inch layer of olive oil on top.
Found these great little jars on sale at Sur La Table.
I think they are for hanging votives, but I had caning lids that fit perfectly
…….so, pesto jars they are now.
Without preservatives, this will keep in the refrigerator for about a week, but it freezes beautifully. The olive oil keeps it from freezing completely.
Now I have fresh basil pesto whenever we want it.
We just scoop out what we need to toss with pasta, add to soup, marinate chicken, or smear on sandwiches.
Or better yet, give to a friend……