I am currently in China right now and will be there for the next two weeks. This is the second of several posts that I had prepared beforehand for when I was away. Please understand that during this time my response to comments / e-mails / etc. will be slower than normal. Finally, if you are so inclined, you can vote for me here for Project Food Blog.
For some reason, I never did this, and instead always (sadly) let my basil rot before I could finish using it.
This summer I learned an awesome trick from the weekly newsletter that I get from my farm share. The best way to preserve basil is to keep it in a glass of water at room temperature. It will last for a week or two like this! Granted, the basil we get still have their roots on, so they are still alive and thus can live easily like this. I doubt this would work for supermarket packaged or cut basil.
Despite being able to save the basil, I still accumulated TONS of basil that I could not use, so finally I decided it was time for me to learn how to make pesto.
This is probably review for most of you, but I'm willing to bet there's at least some of you out there who have still not tried this. I mean, I've been cooking for over a decade, and it wasn't until this summer that I finally sat down and tried making my own pesto.
Homemade Basil Pesto
adapted from Simply Recipes
2 cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup sharp dry cheese*
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
*preferably Pecorino, but Parmesan-Romano works too
Combine pine nuts, garlic, and basil in a food processor. Pulse until shredded and combined. In a slow stream, add the extra virgin olive oil while running the food processor. Finally, stir in the cheese and serve.
Note: the cheese does not freeze well. If you want to make basil to freeze, omit the cheese and stir it back in when thawed.
You can do all sorts of stuff with this pesto. Use it as a sauce for chicken, toss it with the carbohydrate of your choice. I just simply tossed it with pasta and fresh tomatoes from the farm share for a beautiful, refreshing meal.
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