Sunday, July 29, 2012

Basil Pesto

It was a busy day in the Homestead kitchen yesterday! I made two huge batches of pesto, a batch of pickles, froze some green beans and made some pizza dough, which, along with some of that pesto, turned into some pizzas for dinner!

But let’s talk more about that pesto! Our basil plants are growing like crazy… look at this harvest from yesterday!

When the basil is extra-plentiful in summer, I like to make up lots of pesto to freeze for the winter, so we can enjoy one of our favorite summer flavors year round. This recipe makes a pretty good amount, but you can half or double this to suit your needs, and the amount of basil you happen to have on hand. NOTE: This is a vegan pesto, without cheese. I feel like it freezes better without the cheese in it, plus, I like to use this cheese-less pesto on pizzas, when I am already using other cheese.  If I’m using this on pasta, I add some grated cheese to it when I thaw it out. It’s also perfectly delicious as is, for those who cannot have dairy.

You will need:
4 cups of basil leaves (fairly packed)
4-6 cloves of garlic (depending on how garlicky you like it)
½ cup of pine nuts or walnuts
¾ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Put the garlic cloves into the food processor and pulse a bit. Add the basil and nuts, then run the processor while drizzling in the oil. Add salt to taste.

After this is made, you can set aside some to use straight away, then spoon the rest into an ice cube tray, cover with wax paper and freeze. Once the cubes are frozen, just store them in a zip bag or container in the freezer. To use, just take out the amount you need, and thaw. We use this on pasta, on tomato and mozzarella sandwiches, on pizza and even in omelets. We’ve even been known to just spread a little on a hunk of bread or a cracker for a little snack! We really love our pesto, around here!
A small slice of crusty bread with pesto & sliced red & yellow cherry tomatoes... YUM.

It's a rainy day here, today, so it's another good day to spend in the kitchen, preparing food for the busy week ahead. I've got some bread dough to start, some veggies to prep, and I'll be making a big pot of bean chili to freeze.  

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