After I posted about using basil to repel flies, my mouth has been watering all day at the thought of fresh pesto. Oooo… fresh pesto on a thin slice of homemade bread. Yeah, baby… that’s what I want. Sadly, my basil is only about an inch tall right now. I’ll have to wait awhile, but once it’s tall enough to start harvesting, here’s what I’m going to do with it.
I like classic basil pesto, but you can change this recipe a bit to suit your tastes, your desire of the moment, and availability of ingredients. I would never, ever in a million years make pesto with anything but fresh basil, so if there’s none to be had, but if there’s plenty of sage, for example, you could use that and have a whole different taste.
Here’s my recipe for fresh basil pesto, and let me tell you, it’s AWESOME. In fact,I’m going to name it, since I’m pretty sure that I invented this particular recipe, and I’m going to call it:
AWESOME FRESH BASIL PESTO
Basil of your choice, 2 cups fresh, washed and allowed to mostly dry
1/3 cup pine nuts
Garlic, several cloves depending on how much you love it
1/2 cup olive oil, plus a bit
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Dash of salt (taste it first – parmesan tastes salty so you might not need it)
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until you get a nice, smooth texture, scraping down the sides to be sure it all is mixed in. You might need to add a bit of olive oil, depending on how dry your parmesan is. Chill it if you can wait that long, then spread it on something (crackers, bread, salmon, chicken, a pork chop, a spoon) and enjoy. It’s refreshing and delicious. We love garlic and consider it to be a vegetable, so we use probably 6 good-sized cloves or more when we make it. For a whole different taste, swap fresh sage for the basil and walnuts for the pine nuts. It’s really good, but in my opinion, you can’t beat fresh basil.
Now here’s the cool part – when you have a glut of basil (or sage), you can make several batches of this and freeze it in ice cube trays. You know, though, it doesn’t seem to matter how much basil I plant, we use every bit of it. In fact, it’s the herb that we use the most consistently, year round. We rarely eat out, so we’re cooking (or otherwise preparing) about 16 meals a week, and basil is so versatile, well, I doubt we’ll ever have a glut, but we can try for that. I think I’ll go plant some more.