I'm not sure about you, but we have loads of basil right now. We got it in the CSA box this last week and we have a couple of plants thriving in our garden as well. Until the tomatoes have ripened and we can make a mean caprese salad, we need to find other uses for all that basil. We were having green pasta last night for dinner and I decided to whip up a batch of pesto. Have you made this before? Am I totally off-base sharing such a simple recipe? Well, here it is anyway, along with a couple of tips for storing and preserving some of this green goodness.
2-3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 to 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 small garlic clove
4 garlic scapes (we were out of garlic besides the 1 clove but had the scapes so I decided to add them. If you don't have scapes, I would add about 3 cloves of garlic.)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Add the basil, garlic, garlic scapes, and pine nuts to the food processor and pulse a few times.
Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Pesto is great with pasta but also makes a lovely spread for sandwiches or crostini. I love turkey sandwiches with pesto and fresh tomatoes. You can use it as part of the dressing for a pasta salad or add it to soups. I like to freeze my extra pesto in ice cube trays. Then I pop out the cubes and keep them in a freezer bag for a burst of flavor in the winter.
A little tip for storing cut basil. This is the best method that I have found to keep my cut basil from getting all wilty and developing those black spots on them. I strip the lower leaves off the stems and store them in a glass of water covered with a plastic bag. I change the water every day or every other and the basil seems to last for almost a week this way.
(This is some mint, I had already used the basil up before remembering to take this picture!)
Please share how you use up your basil bounty!