Keep pinching those tasty leaves off your basil plants, otherwise they’ll go to flower and that is the end for basil. (And we surely don’t want that, it’s only August!) Our growing season is short here in Montana, but a lot seems to happen in mid-summer. I returned from a week away to a joyful tangle of tomato stems and veritable bushes of basil, eggplant, and hot peppers. Time for some serious harvesting.
For the basil, that meant pesto. Thanks to Mary Risley of the former Tante Marie’s Cooking School in San Francisco (and my friend KC) for the original recipe. Use it as a spread (focaccia sandwiches with fresh mozzarella and tomato), dip (same, or any veggie), dollop (eggs), or in pasta. As long as you keep a layer of olive oil on top to seal out the air, your pesto will retain its vibrant green color for several days. Store in the refrigerator.
- 2 cups basil leaves packed
- 2 cloves garlic minced and mashed with 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 cup pepitas or pine nuts toasted
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pack basil leaves in food processor. Add the minced and mashed garlic, grated Parm, pepitas or pine nuts, and drizzle the olive oil over the top. Process to a purée, leaving it rough or go longer for more smooth texture--your choice. Taste and sprinkle with additional salt if you wish, and a few grinds of black pepper.
Use immediately or pack into a glass container, add a layer of olive oil on top, and keep in the refrigerator for several days.
Recipe Notes / Tips
- use a tasty extra virgin olive oil for best results
- substitute any grana-type hard cheese for the Parmigiano-Reggiano