I’ve been showing you pictures from my garden and of my basil. Today, I went and harvested basil and made a classic basil pesto.
Classic Basil Pesto
2 cups (packed) basil leaves (cleaned and dried)
1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, finely grated
1/3 cup pine nuts (I lightly toast mine)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor. Process the ingredients until they are well blended. Add the olive oil through the top tube of the food processor in a slow steady stream until it is all incorporated.
Place the basil in a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap touching the pesto. If you would like to freeze the pesto, place it in a freezer safe container and drizzle olive oil on top or pour into ice cube trays topping with olive oil and freeze. Pesto may be frozen up to 3 months.
Now, what am I going to do with this pesto? There are so many possibilities but here are three of my favorites:
Pesto and Pasta
Cook spaghetti in boiling water until done. While the spaghetti is cooking, fry 6 pieces of bacon. Drain and crumble bacon. In a little of the bacon grease, saute a small chopped onion. Add a can of drained, diced tomatoes, 1 cup of pesto and the bacon crumbles. Add the cooked, drained pasta to the pesto mixture and serve.
Slice a loaf of French bread in half lengthwise. Spread pesto on both halves. Toast the bread halves in the oven until crispy and golden.
Pesto and Prosciutto on Puffed Pastry
Thaw a slice of puff pastry. Roll the creases out of the pastry. Spread the pesto within 1/2 inch of the boarder of the pastry. Place prosciutto (or smoked ham) slices on top of the pesto layer. Roll up the pastry starting with the long end to form a roll. Cut 1/2 inch slices off the roll and bake at 400 degrees F. for about 20 – 30 minutes until golden brown and puffed.
Okay, after writing that, I’m hungry! Happy pesto!
Today’s Lagniappe: Pesto Variations
Don’t have basil growing? Try some of these pesto variations. I always toast the nuts, but, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.
- spinach and walnuts
- arugula and pine nuts
- parsley/thyme and walnuts
- sage and walnuts
- roasted red peppers and no nuts
You get the idea. There are endless possibilities!
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