Summer is in full swing, and as such basil is everywhere. Yes, you can grow herbs at any time of year, really, but right now is when they start propagating out of control. I bought a bunch of basil as big as my head for $2 at one of my local Farmer’s Markets, and aside from the fact that I couldn’t stop smelling it (smells amaaaazing) I was immediately seized with panic.
What the hell was I going to make with all of that basil? I only have so many tomatoes! When I thought, duh. I’ll make some pesto! I had never made homemade pesto, because I thought I wasn’t a huge fan. I’m normally a tomato sauce gal. I intended my very first batch for a potato-pesto pizza (just as amazing as it sounds) and when the pesto was done I was in shock. Who knew homemade pesto could be so amazing? It didn’t taste anything like the drab pestos I’d previously been accustomed to. This was fresh, garlicy-sweet, with a slight bite. Absolutely brilliant. I immediately slathered some on toast, and while I ate thought “I’m totally making this for my next blog”.
I know that nearly everyone knows how to make pesto, and that this recipe won’t really be a revelation to anyone. I just wanted to share my enthusiasm, and to let you know that if you have never made pesto from scratch, now is the perfect time to start.
Pesto, makes about 1 C. Recipe from Simply Recipes.com.
1 C basil leaves, packed
1/4 C parmesean cheese
1/4 C olive oil
2.5 TB walnuts (You can use pine nuts if you want).
1.5 garlic cloves, sliced.
salt and pepper to taste
You will need a food processor or a blender. I have an itsy-bitsy Toastmaster Chopster. It’s a mini food processor, not very powerful, but perfect for pesto because it doesn’t liquefy the ingredients.
Put the walnuts in the food processor and pulse a few times until they are crumbly.
Grab your basil and pack a cup full of basil leaves. No stems, and make sure you pack tightly!
Chop the garlic very coarsely, add it to the walnuts in the food processor and pulse them together.
Add the basil and pulse lightly until the leaves have broken up, scraping down the sides of the processor is necessary.
Add the olive oil a little at a time, pulsing between each addition. When you are done, the mixture should be cohesive but still granular.
Add the cheese and pulse to combine.
Now taste and add add salt and pepper as you like.
You can add the pesto to anything, use it for pastas or pizza, or just slather it on a slice of french bread like me.