Pesto is yummy and very useful. It freezes beautifully. Somebody you know probably has too much basil come late summer/early fall. Relieve them of it (well before the first frost) and then invite them over for a pasta dinner this winter.
Try this recipe from from Simply Recipes.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
- 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Makes 1 cup.
If you’re freezing pesto, make sure to freeze it in small containers so you can get to just what you need. Some people freeze pesto in ice cube trays and then store the cubes in freezer bags. Then you just need a cube per serving. I’ve defrosted pesto overnight in the fridge and in an hour or so on the counter. Both ways worked fine.
Add to freshly cooked pasta.
Toast on good bread.
Try it on pita crisps.
Add chicken. Here’s an interesting pesto recipe that I haven’t tried yet. You smear chicken breasts with pesto and then bake them until the chicken’s cooked. Sounds good.
From the New York Times picnic recipes…
“Cook peeled shrimp; little ones are best. Toss with pesto: lots. Put on small rolls. (In fact: cook anything; toss with pesto: lots. Put on small rolls.)”
Pesto doesn’t have to be basil. Play around with other herbs you like. I’ve heard of people doing it with cilantro (which I’m not terribly fond of). I bet it’s good for chicken dishes. Parsley would probably work, too. (Unfortunately, parsley in my house inevitably winds up as tabouli.)
Anybody have ideas for other pestos?