Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Reprise -- Pesto from the Garden

It's Sunday and time for Sunday's Favorites. And this is a favorite -- from September 14, 2008. Basil is a big part of Linderhof's herb gardens AND pesto is a big part of what we do with the basil.

And yes, we've put up some pesto this year for the freezer as well as having simple lunches of pasta and pesto.

Alas, the pesto from this post was gone all too quickly -- but it usually is.

Join me for the Sunday Favorite -- and a favorite of mine. Then please join Chari at
Happy to Design to see other favorites.

We plant basil in the herb garden for two reasons -- to chop and sprinkle over fresh garden tomatoes and to make pesto not only to use over pasta in the summer but to jar and freeze for winter meals. A plate of good pasta, with spoonfuls of pesto and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese is truly summer on a plate in the middle of winter. A big dab in a bowl of vegetable soup turns it into the French soup au pistou.

This weekend, the basil harvest was big enough to provide five jam jars of pesto. One in the fridge to drizzle over tomatoes while the other four was put in the freezer for winter meals.

My recipe is simple except I omit the Parmesan until I thaw and use. I read that tip somewhere (although now I can't remember where) and have always done so.

For every 2 cups of basil leaves, you need 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/3 cup pine nuts (you can use walnuts but I prefer using the traditional pine nuts) and 3 medium size cloves of garlic. If you're going to use it right away and not freeze, you will also need 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Combine the basil and pine nuts and pulse a few times. Add the garlic and pulse a few times more. Turn on the food processor and slowly pour the olive oil down the tube in a constant stream. Scrape down sides. If you're going to use it right away, add the Parmesan cheese. If you're going to freeze, put it in jars or freezer containers and seal.

Two cups of basil leaves will make about 1 cup of pesto.

The best thing about pesto making is the smear that I put over a slice of baguette. I call it "quality control"!


Nancy Yoakum said...

Ilove pesto! To me it's a perfect summertime dish and we love it with some light angel hair pasta and a caprise salad! You should see the size of my flat leaf Italian parsely plant. It's out of control! I need to give it a hair cut!

Schnitzel and the Trout said...

I make my pesto the same way and read some time ago about leaving out the Parmesan until after thawing. I also don't recall where, but that is also how I do it. Don't you just love the smell of basil? It is so clean and perfect and mouth-watering.