Thursday, August 21, 2008

Basil Pesto


After a very busy past couple of months, my idea of a good weekend is going for a long walk around the city, seeing the sites, going to the market, cooking and baking, and sleeping in.

peppersveggies2
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With some of the best fruits of the summer in season, I’m starting to feel that itch to get my fill and prepare for the winter. I stocked up on a bunch of produce (peaches, basil, raspberries (1/2 flat for $10 – cheaper than picking them), lettuce, etc. I’m so glad I went blueberry picking, though. For 4L, I paid $15. But, to buy them in the market, they’re around $35-$40.

I’m still growing my own basil at home and it’s actually doing much better now that I put it in a place where it receives direct sunlight on a consistent basis. Too bad we’ve had so much rain. My first time growing basil, I left it on my kitchen window sill in my old apartment in one of the sunniest cities in Canada. The basil grew like a weed and I couldn't eat it fast enough. Living in a somewhat cloudy city, growing vegetable and herbs requires you to actually work for your produce.

I’ve wanted to make and freeze pesto for a while now. At $1/bunch of basil, how can you go wrong? I may have to get some more this weekend. I used some of the basil to make another Caprese salad. This time, using a balsamic vinegar and oil-based dressing. I used the rest of the basil to make a basil pesto.

Basil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts

3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Blend the ingredients together.

pesto basil

I made a double recipe.

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I then took the pesto and put it in an ice tray until it froze into small portion-sized cubes.

basil

This allow you to freeze pesto in service-sized portions.

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Stay tuned for the first dish I made with this pesto.

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22 comments:

Julia said...

What a great idea. You're so organized! And happy will you be in the middle of winter with a flavor burst of summer!

kat said...

oh, I need to really be doing this too. Our CSA keeps leaving extra basil at the pick up site for whomever wants it & I should grab some.

gay said...

Great idea!

Arundathi said...

what a lovely idea! didn't realize that pesto freezes well! fantastic! thank you!

Ryan said...

I just found your blog - it was recommended to me in google reader, and it looks great! I recently made my own pesto actually, similar to yours but we ate it all in one sitting! I might try freezing it next time though, although my basil plants are looking pretty pathetic right now - could do with some sun! Does it keep well in a jar in the fridge?

OhioMom said...

What a great idea for freezing basil .. love the market pics! We could use some of that rain here :)

Lori said...

I also puree basil with a little olive oil, just enough to make a paste. I freeze it in little baggies, like a cigar shape. I break pieces off in the winter to put in soup when its just about done.

Basil for a 1, I love it. It almost is not worth it to grow it. However it is nice to go out and take a sprig or two.

Ricki said...

What a great idea to freeze the pesto! Gee, wish I'd thought of that last time I made a humongous batch of the stuff. . .

parsnips aplenty said...

Is there anything more beautiful than ice cube trays full of pesto? I think not!

Beth said...

My basil always dies!! Great idea about freezing in ice cube trays. I used to do this with my daughters pureed food when she was a baby

Grace said...

gorgeous pesto, and what a great idea to prolong its yummy freshnicity. (i just made that word, right now. awesome.)
meanwhile, are those purple peppers i see? i didn't know such a thing existed--i need to get out more! :)

Lisa said...

What great pictures of the market. Nice pesto!

Bellini Valli said...

This is still the best way to use copious amounts of basil:D

Psychgrad said...

lori - that's a neat idea too. I use my basil in many of my dishes, so it's worth it for me.

grace - t'is purple peppers. I was surprised to see them too, which is part of why I took the picture.

Elly said...

I do this all the time with pesto and it works out so well! I just love it. I will take a cube or two to work with me and when I am ready for lunch, I can just spread it on my sandwich. So many meals have been "saved" at dinner time with the frozen pesto. Each time, my husband says, "is this that pesto you freeze?" LOL

melissa said...

I don't remember where the heck I read the ice cube idea this summer, but it's a good one.

I really need to make pesto again before summer is out.

Nice market pictures PG.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Love those cubes! I freeze mine too, but never think of using ice cube trays, maybe cause I don't realy have any, I have an ice maker. I'll be out to get some for sure!

RecipeGirl said...

Hmmm... ice cube trays are a good idea. I usually just pour it into zips and freeze it in zips. Your method is better! I've been meaning to begin stocking up on fresh fruits, etc.

kittie said...

Great idea with the ice cubes - I might be nicking it very soon!

Jude said...

Great way to preserve summer herbs.. Thanks for the great tips!

That Girl said...

I always keep pesto on hand - you can throw it in so many things.

Rosie said...

What a great idea!! hanks for the tip :)

Rosie x

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