Basil Pesto

Here is the pesto recipe.  Remember when making a dish with so few ingredients use the very best ingredients. At the Farmers Market in Evanston the other day I saw baskets of basil. Freshly picked. Gorgeous. Pine nuts are horribly expensive but worth it. Walnuts are an alternative.  Walnuts will change the color and taste though. Make sure your oil is the first press and from a glass bottle.  And lovely aged parmesan if you can bear it.

If you don’t have a garden, you can grow basil in a big pot on your window sill in a sheltered warm spot. As long as you croon to it every morning and water it TWICE a day in the summer.  Feed it once a week with a good natural fish fertiliser.  I LOVE basil!  Can you tell?

You will see from the picture below ( not a very good image I might add but I was in a hurry to EAT it!)  You can see that I actually stir the grated cheese in.  When we used to buy this in big jars freshly made on the Amalfi Coast in Italy the guy pulsed it in.  So you choose.

I take the flowers and stems off for this recipe. Though they are perfectly tasty in salads.

Basil Pesto

2 cups ripped basil (rip down the seam)

4 big chopped cloves of garlic

1 cup pine nuts

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 cup romano (this is optional)

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In Food  processer:  Blend basil, garlic and nuts. Drizzle in oil.  Lightly pulse in cheese. 

Refrigerate. If I make enough I freeze  some in ice cube trays.   Place in a sealed bag.  They are fine in the freezer for a few months.  Then I use them for flavoring soups and stews during the winter. Lovely as a topping on grilled fish. 

A perfect lunch. 

Hot penne pasta, lightly stir in the pesto and top with grated parmesan and ground pepper.   Make a side salad of any edible greens you can find, dress with a tiny drizzle of olive oil and teensy drops of balsamic.  Divine.

OK. Just for discussions sake. I popped out and picked a cup of lime basil leaves. Halved the recipe. Replaced the pine nuts with walnuts.   See how fast it is the make? And LOOK! Not very pretty. But pretty tasty.  There is an  interesting lime hit left in your mouth.

A lovely girl from England who works in aromatherapy commented last night about Lime Basil.  Which got me to thinking  about how you could use this heady feel good herb in that line of work. Here is my suggestion. Grow a long bed of it.  At Dawn, when it is dewy and the world is still sleeping.  Sneak out. Throw your nightie into the weeds and tuck yourself in amongst the lime basil, wriggle a bit to release the fragrance, then just relax there, sigh, breath in that delicious scent and watch the the sky as it slowly lightens. Therapy.

I am making more summer sauce today. Our John is bringing in HUGE buckets of tomatoes every day now and so I had better get Cooking.  My summer sauce is the basic component for most of my winter dishes so I make as much as I can. I will write it up for you tomorrow.


6 Comments on “Basil Pesto

  1. This quote came to mind after looking at your beautiful dish.
    “Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct
    and taste rather than exact measurements.”
    – Marcel Boulestin

  2. Linda, I love that. I have instantly copied that into my work-book. . In the old days I would have embroidered the quote in spirally script and hung it on my kitchen wall! Thank you so much. c

  3. Hi Cecilia! We do have three hardy basil plants growing, so I will try this recipe. I love easy recipes.
    I also love the quote Linda sent “Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct
    and taste rather than exact measurements.” Sadly for many, that art does not come easily, and all we have to work with are exact measurement. That is my case. 😦 Anyway, what to do but keep on meticulously following recipes until, one day, it just may come more naturally. That’s my hope anyway!
    I’m so jealous of the tomatoes Our John is bringing in daily. Since we got such a late start in our rocky land in June, I am only looking at the small flowers on our tomatoes plants daily. Yes, I’m crooning to them, but the intense heat down here lately hasn’t been conducive to their growth, I’m sad to say. But, I look forward to your summer sauce recipe, and hopefully the end of August, or in September I’ll be able to make it from our very own tomatoes. Fingers crossed!!!

    • You will be a great cook, I am quite sure. Because you love GOOD FOOD! I know you are watering those tomatoes it is the secret ingredient… water.. well along with the crooning that is. I am with you on the easy peasy recipes. In the winter we will have lots of fun with simple tasty stuff. Just need to get that larder/freezer full of the basics. My fingers are crossed for you tomatoes too.

  4. You are so kind Cecilia. I am working on it. Maybe someday I’ll even send you a recipe! Meanwhile though, I’ll use the ones you are posting and learn! I’ll let you know when we eat our first tomato!

  5. Hi Cecilia! Okay, I’m making the pesto now. As I was pouring over the recipe, I reread your therapy suggestion for the lime basil. I love it! Will have to wait until next year to try it, but am definitely going to keep it in my natural remedies/therapy book. 🙂
    Okay, pesto here I come!!! Di

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