Just like everything else in the garden, the basil was ready to be “dealt” with! What could possibly be better than Fresh Garden Pesto? If only you could have smelled the aromatic combination of basil, garlic, pine nuts, oil and cheese as it whirled together in the food processor; forming the most undeniably summeriest and tastiest of all condiments! We managed to stock the freezer with 3 pints of this little slice of summer. I’m already thinking about a Thanksgiving turkey sandwich with pesto mayonnaise or a bowl of fresh tomato soup on a rainy January day, brightened by a swirl of pesto. Oh yeah, we like it on pasta too!
Laura’s Fresh Basil Pesto
Inspired by: Ina Gartner’s Barefoot Contessa Parties!
1 1/2 cup pine nuts
15 cloves chopped garlic (more or less, your call)
10 cups packed basil leaves (no stems)
1-3 teaspoons kosher salt
1-2 teaspoons ground black pepper
4 cups, approximately, very good quality olive oil
2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Food processor fitted with the sharp blade
You will need to adjust these ingredients proportionally based on how much basil you are trying to use. Additionally, the water content of the basil itself, will impact the amount of oil needed. The quality and flavor of the pesto is determined by the quality of the basil, oil, cheese and nuts you use.
Start by pulsing the pine nuts and the garlic in the food processor, until they are coarsely chopped and evenly combined.
Add the basil leaves in batches and continue to pulse the mixture to thoroughly combine.
Once all basil has been incorporated, it is time to drizzle in the olive oil. Work slowly, stop often, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and continue to add oil until the pesto has reached your desired consistency.
Add salt and pepper. Adjust to your taste. Toss in the grated cheese and give it one more brief whirl! Spoon into clean glass jars or freezer containers. If freezing, be sure to leave about 1/2 inch of head space to allow for expansion. Add a thin layer of olive oil before sealing to ensure basil does not turn brown.
When the Fall rains come followed by the Winter snow, you can laugh them off, knowing you have a few jars of summer, tucked away in your freezer.