Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fresh Garden Basil Pesto

One of the advantages of planting a garden is having fresh herbs all summer. The other bonus is the fall harvest. My 12 basil plants supplied us with fresh basil, and now the chilly weather means they must be cut and made into pesto. I made the pesto, minus the cheese and froze it in individual portions in a mini muffin tin. For a quick meal, all I have to do is thaw out as many portions as I need, add a little more olive oil and the cheese and stir. I really like the combination of lemon pepper pappardelle pasta with pesto, but any pasta works well. Boil the pasta according to package directions, drain and toss well with the pesto. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve. One mini muffin tin equals one serving of pesto. Add some fresh or roasted tomatoes and a side salad for a delicious and quick meal.

Basil Pesto

2 cups basil leaves, picked and washed
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and pepper to taste

Place the basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts in a food processor. Slowly add the olive oil while processing. Scrape down the sides to ensure the leaves have been blended. If you plan to freeze the pesto, stop at this point and put into a small muffin tin or ice cube tray. When ready to use, place the pesto in a bowl. Add the cheese, and stir to blend.

Taste and check the consistency. The sauce should be loose and full of flavor. Add salt and pepper and toss with hot pasta. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Written and photographed by Diane

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