August 14, 2004
Basil Pesto

We not only appreciate food, but we enjoy gardening as well. This past spring we found a nursery in central Alabama that hosted a culinary herb lecture. The featured guest speaker was the owner of "Blooming Idiot" herb wholesaler and had work experience at Callaway Gardens. She taught us all kinds of neat things about caring for our herbs, when to prune them, and how to preserve them for culinary use.

Our basil was slow to emerge from our garden this year. We've been pinching it all season long for tomato sandwiches and other kitchen uses. Today we noticed that our basil was threatening to bolt (or flower) and decided to prune it back by 1/3 as instructed by our herb expert. We took our surplus of basil and made a deliciously fresh pesto. I've made pesto in the past and it has always tasted too green, so this time I used my blender instead of my food processor and remembered to add salt.

Click "more" for the recipe we made today

Basil Pesto
from Food TV's "How To Boil Water"

2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese (see Cook's Note)


Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper. If freezing, transfer to an air-tight container and drizzle remaining oil over the top. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw and stir in cheese.
COOKS NOTE: If using immediately, add all the oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

Posted by linda on August 14, 2004
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