If you have a garden loaded with basil, you've got it made in the shade (or sun, for that matter) because now is the time to pick all that basil and make pesto for tonight, and later.
I was fortunate to have received fresh, gorgeous basil from my neighbor's garden.
Making pesto is pretty easy. You will thank yourself later if you make a big batch. Use some now and freeze the remainder in small containers.
You definitely need a food processor for this recipe. If you don't have one, borrow one from a friend. When you return their appliance, present them with a container of pesto! They will be happy to lend you anything in the future.
Here's the basic pesto recipe:
1/4 cup nuts (pine nuts, walnuts - your choice)
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed, stems removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
freshly ground pepper
kosher salt, as needed
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
First, toast the nuts by placing them in a small dry frying pan on medium heat. Stir them frequently and watch them until they just begin to turn light brown. Remove the nuts from the pan and place them on a plate or on a piece of tin foil and let cool.
In the bowl of a food processor, add the nuts, basil, garlic, lemon juice, cheese, pepper, a little salt and about half the olive oil. Process until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and process more. While the machine is running, add a little more olive oil until you reach your desired consistency. You may need the whole 1/2 cup, you may need less.
Now taste the pesto and add more salt, lemon juice or garlic as desired. My first batch needed a pinch more kosher salt.
Many Ways To Enjoy Pesto
as a spaghetti sauce
as a sandwich spread
as a sauce on pizza
on any grilled meat, chicken or fish
on corn on the cob (my favorite)
as a garnish on white bean soup
mixed into potato/macaroni/pasta salad
on roasted veggies
in stuffed mushrooms
in scrambled eggs
on a baked potato