Each year we plant basil. A ton of basil. We usually plant five basil plants. So much of that basil goes to waste. This year, we’ve decided to do a much better job of putting up the basil and for me, the easiest way to do that is just to make pesto. Pesto is a great sauce on pasta, fresh vegetables and especially on tomatoes and burrata cheese. Don’t think you’ll be eating that much pesto over the short term? Easy, just put it in an air tight container and put it in the freezer. It won’t be as perfect and fresh as it is the day you make it, but it will still be wonderful.
Pesto is an easy sauce to create, it just takes six ingredients and is easily scalable:
- One cup of Fresh Basil
- One peeled clove of garlic (I’ve been omitting this recently)
- 2 Tablespoons of Pine Nuts (try adding a Tablespoon of Walnuts or swap out Pine Nuts for Walnuts)
- 1/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- 1/3 Cup of Olive Oil (don’t use the GOOD stuff)
The process is effortless if you have a food processor. I even decided to buy a $19 Black and Decker 1.5 Cup food processor – using my normal food processor wasn’t all that efficient. Toss in all the dry ingredients into the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Then slowly drizzle in the Olive Oil, while the processor runs. You may need to adjust the amount of Olive Oil – just play with it until it looks right. Take one final taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
If you do decide to freeze the pesto, be sure you press a layer of plastic wrap directly into the Pesto before putting the lid on and sticking it in the freezer. This keeps the air away from the pesto and reduces freezer burn.
For lunch today, I paired homemade pesto with frozen goat cheese ravioli, diced fresh and sun dried tomatoes…of course with more Parmesan cheese.
You can follow this basic recipe for other garden fresh herbs too, including parsley and cilantro.
How do you save your garden fresh herbs? What do you love to serve with your homemade pesto?