I was picking some greens at the CT4MB garden when Mike, of next-door Colonial Nursery NJ, came over with a bunch of freshly cut, eager-to-please basil. With his engaging smile and an offering I could hardly refuse, it looked to me a bouquet of flowers. Simple pleasures.
So back to the question – when gifted with basil, what to do? The first thing that comes to mind is presto! pesto – an easy way out to an elaborate preparation of a meal which I almost always am inclined to do these days.
With pasta. On summer-grilled, fresh corn – finger-lickin’. On flatbread – fantastic! On your next chicken sandwich – divine.
That’s it. Here goes -
No-fail basil pesto
Prep time: 30 minutes Yield: Makes 1 cup
4 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
1/2 cup pine nuts
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
Rinse basil leaves in water, pat dry with paper towel and chop coarsely.
In a food processor or blender, combine basil, pine nuts, garlic, and pulse a few times.
Add cheese and pulse some more.
Pour olive oil in a steady stream while the blender is on. If too thick, add more olive oil.
Salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasoning as needed.
Store in an airtight glass jar for a week in the refrigerator or freeze for three months. (Note: add a thin layer of olive oil on top to maintain its color.)