Last night my husband harvested the basil. Drying herbs is not my thing, so I decided that turning it into walnut basil pesto and freezing it was a good idea. I prepped the basil, removing spent flowers, stems, and the occasional insect while giving homework advice. A thorough rinse and a few good whirls in the salad spinner and the basil was dry enough to store in the ‘fridge overnight.
The recipe calls for 3 1/2 cups of basil, packed. Wow…packed is pretty subjective. You don’t pack it like brown sugar. You just mash it with enough force that it doesn’t come springing back at you. General approximation is 1.5 ounces per cup.
Most pesto recipes call for pine nuts. Pine nuts can be expensive, and not always easy to find. Walnuts, are cheaper, easy to find, and also have omega-3, something most of us could use more of.
This is done with the food processor, one measuring cup, and a spatula. First in was all the basil, then the parmesan – not the super expensive chunk that you grate directly on a dish, but something nicer than the green can, walnut halves, a pinch of salt (watching it there, the parm is pretty salty), and 2 garlic balls (equivalent to 8 garlic cloves). Yes, a lot of garlic, and more than the recipe asks for. Most people would not use this much. I like garlic. This all gets pulsed until its well mixed. Then, with the motor running, drizzle in olive oil until the pesto is hummus like, or as thin as you prefer. I used 1/2 cup in all.
Taste test! Very nice. Maybe could use a little more salt, but depending on what it will be used with, I’d rather check the seasoning then.
Now on to preservation. Freezing is my preference. As usual, I scoop! There were 23 scoops. Had I not sampled it on pasta and toast, there would have been 24.
Another successful harvest! Of course, someone one will ask what you DO with this? Plop it into pasta sauce, or into plain pasta, thaw it for, salad dressings and dips, sauces, roasted vegetables…endless possibilities!
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