Tyler and I are adopting the “let’s stuff our freezer to the brim with summer produce so in the dead of winter we have food to eat”. It’s gotten a little out of hand, we have about 20 ears of shucked corn, several quarts of tomatoes, and bags of green beans and I imagine I will add even more in the next couple of weeks. I have also begun to make a plethora of pesto, which I have frozen in plastic containers to use for pasta dishes when I desire a bit of freshness. Pesto is one of those foods that I believe everyone should know how to make (right up there with homemade tomato sauce and roast chicken). It’s not difficult and it doesn’t really require any fancy equipment but it’s delicious because of its simplicity. I love it mixed with pasta and roasted vegetables or on a sandwich of mozzarella and roasted peppers (as shown in this photo). It freezes well (I know many people who pour the pesto into ice cube trays for individual servings!) and it works as a condiment for a wide variety of foods, making it infinitely adaptable (which is always a plus in my book).
Recipe Adapted from Essentials of Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan
The original recipe called for butter, which seemed unnecessary to me so I eliminated it. I also decreased the olive oil because of personal preference, but you can adjust according to what you like! This can also be doubled or tripled depending on the amount of basil you have.
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 - ½ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, chopped before putting in food processor
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/3 cup Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
Briefly soak and wash the basil in cold water, and gently pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels. Put the basil, pine nuts, garlic, ample pinch of salt, a few twists of pepper, red pepper flakes (if you are using), and cheese in a food processor and process to a uniform consistency. Turn the processor on again and slowly drizzle in the olive oil via the feed tube, until desired consistency (I prefer a chunkier pesto). If you don’t have a feed tube, pour some olive oil into your processor and process, adding more as you fell necessary. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or cheese as you desire.