The stars aligned in a very tasty way for me a couple of weeks ago: I had just finished reading the chapter in Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle where she talks about making pesto and freezing it (and railing against a food writer that suggested making pesto in December!) and then, what did I find on the counter when I went to pay for my Aubergine purchases but 10 bags of fresh, local basil, wilting away. I desired them greatly, but didn't really have a plan in place to make pesto yet (no recipe and a busy day with M'hijo ahead of me) so I decided to wait. But then the Aubergine guy made me an offer I couldn't refuse. "Take the lot of them", he said, "and I'll only charge you a buck fifty a bag." I did so.
Back at the Yellow House with a pound and a half of basil, not including a bag from Kildara farms that was included in my SPUD harvest box, and of course, our own basil plant, which had a good four leaves on it :), I scoured the cookbook shelf for a recipe that looked good. This being my first attempt at homemade pesto, I wasn't really sure what to look for, but as Delia never steers me wrong, I chose her Homemade Pesto recipe from Summer Collection. The recipe calls for 2 ounces of basil. I tossed four ounces at a time into my food processor (tried the blender and it didn't work at all), and added the following:
2 cloves of crushed garlic
2 tablespoons of pine nuts
12 tablespoons of olive oil
some kosher salt
Then I pureed it all until it looked like this:
Then I stirred in two ounces of grated romano cheese and voila! homemade pesto, ready to freeze in little ziploc bags.
Except for the batch I gave to my uncle-in-law, who is renovating my bathroom at the moment, and the tablespoon I added to my shells for lunch.
The taste really was unlike the prepared pestos I've bought at the store: much greener tasting and less salty. I'm really looking forward to grabbing one of my little baggies in the dead of winter and squeezing it into a bowl of steaming pasta: instant dinner! I also plan to try making paninis at home and will put some pesto into these as well.
If you want to put up basil without making it into pesto, check out these instructions from the Organic picks blog.
Thanks to Myriam of Once Upon a Tart for hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week!