We hope our CSA members have been enjoying all of the basil we have been sending in the shares. We imagine that many of you are already fans of pesto, but if that is now in your culinary repertoire, you can try this basic recipe:
A food processor is really good for this but I guess traditionally it everything was just chopped and then ground up with a mortar and pestle… I think a blender can work, but you need to be careful you don’t burn out the motor.
Put in the food processor
3-4 cloves of garlic or a bunch of garlic scapes (pre-chop these a bit)
1/2 or so of walnuts (pinenuts are traditional but they are more expensive and exotic… but taste great)
run processor until you get a nice rough peanut butter texture
3-4 cups of basil leaves (although, I often just put the whole bunch, stem and all, in the cuisine art) You can also sub in up to about 1 cup of basil with parsley.
1/2 cup of olive oil
run processor again. You may want to add some more olive oil as it runs to help everything along… maybe 1/4 cup or so.
mix in about 3/4 – 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (if you have it in a chunk, you can pre-chop it a bit and put it in the processor in that first stage with the nuts and garlic)
You end up with a fairly thick paste that you can toss with hot pasta. It is a delicious, easy summer meal.
You can also dry or freeze basil. I usually freeze it by chopping up leaves in the food processor with some olive oil. I then glop big spoonfuls onto waxpaper on a cookie sheet, freeze it over night or so then put all those little chunks into a freezer bag. Then I can take out the amount I need during the winter. This year I just froze the leaves on a cookie sheet (that’s the photo at the top of the page…) then put them in a bag. This is what Aurora’s family does.