Thursday, June 19, 2014

SO SO Much Basil!

There's a good bunch of basil awaiting us all, and that's a wonderful thing!  Most of my 5-year-old's favorite things involve basil.  First and foremost is, "Noodles with green sauce."  Better known as pesto pasta.  Some homemade pesto is such a versatile thing to have, you should always have some sort of pesto at hand. At its essence, pesto is a sauce comprised of an herb, nuts, cheese, and olive oil.  The classic preparation uses basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese.  Here's a basic recipe:

4-5 cups washed basil leaves (no hard stems)
2/3 cup toasted pine nuts
2-3 garlic cloves (optional)
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan
Extra virgin olive oil (use a good one)
Salt & pepper (be generous)

This is SO simple. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor.  Start with about 1/3 cup olive oil.  Pulse until it is a coarse paste.  With the food processor on low, slowly stream in more oil until it looks emulsified.  Ta da!

So you make a big batch, how do you store it?  The best way I've found is to pour it in an ice tray, freeze overnight, then put the cubes in a zippered freezer bag.  The cubes are great for portioning, too.  Use 1 cube for each serving of pasta.  Make enough to carry you through the winter!

Pesto is fun to play with, too.  Parsley, walnuts, and Romano makes for a great sauce, too.  Dill, pistachio, and feta is fantastic, believe it or not.

Buy some extra basil and some grape tomatoes, and you can have a quick summery side:  halve the tomatoes, put in a little handful of basil sliced in thin strips (called chiffonade), salt, pepper, and some good olive oil and balsamic.  Stir well and let stand at room temperature for a little while.  Ta da! My son makes this on his own (well, he still needs a little help slicing the basil).  Cooking is a great way to spend quality time.

What else do you like to make with basil?

No comments:

Post a Comment