This is the time of year to harvest those lovely Basil plants you have so tenderly nursed along since Spring and turn them into the most intoxicating of toppings – Pesto! The Italian word pesto actually means “pounded” and refers to the way it was traditionally prepared before the advent of food processors. So mix up a batch of this aromatic mix and impress all those who enter your kitchen. (The recipe is from New Recipes From Moosewood Restaurant).
2 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
2 large cloves of garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts – (pine nuts are my 1st choice)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste
Whirl the basil, garlic, nuts and Parmesan in a blender or food processor until well mixed. Then add the olive oil in a slow steady stream until a smooth paste is formed. Viola! you have made Pesto! Use it to top pasta, poultry, veggies, in salad dressing and whatever else your imagination concocts.
This can be kept in the fridge for several weeks in an airtight jar, covered with a thin layer of olive oil or frozen in small amounts in little baggies. Additionally when basil is scarce, I have substituted up to 1/2 the Basil with spinach or lambs quarters.