Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Basil Pesto

The August issue of The Meditative Gardener newsletter included a recipe for basil pesto. Now that it's time (or past time) to harvest basil, i've refined the recipe slightly.

My neighbor, Connie, tells me to blanch the basil leaves to take out the little undercurrent of bitterness that comes with basil that has gone or is going to seed. Of course, by the time i harvest basil, it's already flowering. Instead of beating myself up for not paying more attention to the basil (Aversion), i now "blanch" it by putting the leaves in a sieve in the sink and pouring boiling water over them.

Yes, the leaves start to look like spinach, but the pesto stays bright green instead of turning dark.

Here's Connie's recipe:

Basil Pesto
2 cups basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil

Blanch the leaves in very hot or boiling water for 10 seconds or less.
Dry the leaves (which look like cooked spinach now) as best you can in a salad spinner or in a towel.

Put the leaves into a food processor with the olive oil.

You may freeze this pesto base in ice cube trays (great for single servings!) or in small containers.

When you are ready to serve pesto,
add to the pesto base in the food processor:
2-3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup parmesan
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes

Roast 1/3 cup pine nuts in a skillet until brown. (Or use walnuts.)

Mix the pesto and the whole nuts with pasta or rice.

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