Got Basil?

Make Pesto!  I love having ready-made pesto on hand in the freezer.  You can add a couple of tablespoons to cooked pasta for a fast and delicious mid-week meal, or I use it regularly as the “sauce” on my pizza.  Pesto might seem like a big undertaking, but it couldn’t be easier – and you can take all the credit for making it!  There are a variety of ways to make pesto, but I usually make mine with the basics:  basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts or walnuts, lemon juice, grated Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper.  Mix all that up in food processor – and you’ve got pesto.  (You can also add in some fresh cut Italian parsley, if you wish, and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes add a nice kick!)

I don’t use exact measurements, as much of the flavor and taste is to your liking, but I use a generous amount of basil leaves, maybe enough to loosely fill a standard-sized food processor, a couple of garlic cloves (roughly chopped), the juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon, a handful of the toasted nuts, a couple of handfuls of grated cheese, and a little salt and pepper.  After you get that going in the food processor, add in the olive oil as the food processor is doing it’s thing.  You’ll want to keep adding the olive oil until you get a nice creamy texture.  Shouldn’t be too “soupy”, but you don’t want it too pasty, either.  You’ll find the consistency that works for you.  You might use 1/2-3/4 cup of olive oil.

Try it!  You really can’t go wrong!  (Don’t forget the dash of red pepper flakes for the extra something something!)

I use an ice cube tray to freeze the pesto into cubes (about a heaping tablespoon each).  After they are frozen, you can put them into a freezer bag for easy access, a couple at a time.  They defrost in a small dish on the countertop in no time!  Buon Appetito!


Pesto Penne with Italian Sausage


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