Monday, August 16, 2010

The Taste of Summer

What exemplifies the flavor of summer more than basil? Added to just about any dish is sings. A perfect summer tomatoes tastes even better. But what to do when your basil plant overwhelm your garden? Pesto - a great addition to soups, sandwiches, sauces and an always appreciated gift.

So often I am surprised when people ask me about my pesto recipe. It seems to be such a simple preparation but I have gathered all recipes aren't alike. I am lucky. Mine is amazing and so I wanted to share.

Bunches of basil, a handful of parsley, nice olive oil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and really great garlic are all you need. Buy the garlic at the local green market and you'll truly appreciate its flavor. Did you know much of the garlic sold in this country is grown in China?

Into the food processor, the herbs, garlic and pine nuts. I give it a few quick pulses to chop it until it looks about like the above picture. At that point, I slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream, being careful not to over process.

Parmesan cheese. I always grate my own, since it's so much fresher than the little plastic tub. Fold it in by hand to avoid over processing.

Some people freeze it in ice cube trays. I find the amount in a 4oz. canning jars is just right for most applications or at least a quantity to be used up quickly. Before sealing, I cover the surface with a bit of olive oil to deter oxidation.

Always label lest you forget what it is, assuming it lasts that long. When I give jars as gifts, I like to add a cute tag, like the ones in this post.

Tag or no, you're a hero.

Basil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
3 t. pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
salt to taste

Coarsely chop the basil, parsely, nuts and garlic in a food processor. With machine running, add olive oil in a steady stream until completely pureed. Mix the cheese in by hand. Season to taste.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

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