Basil Pesto

This was served on the Herb Display table at the March meeting.

Makes 6 servings.

2 cups fresh Basil
⅓ cup Olive Oil
2 tbs.  Pine Nuts (Almonds, Pistachios, raw Cashews or Walnuts may be substituted)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
Salt, to taste (if freezing, may want to do this when actually preparing to use)
⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, preferably fresh but not necessary
2 tbs. grated Romano/Pecorino Cheese (or increase  quantity of Parmesean to this amount)
3 tbs. Butter, room temperature

Directions vary somewhat for fresh use and for freezing, so read thoroughly

  1. Remove all the tough stems from the basil. To measure, pack the leaves gently, but somewhat firmly in a measuring cup without crushing.
  2. Empty the basil into the container of a food processor or blender. Add olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and salt. Blend on high speed. Scrape the sides down occasionally with a spatula so it blends evenly.
  3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and beat in the grated cheeses, then the butter by hand. You may refrigerate for use the same day.
  4. When ready to serve, the pesto should be emptied into a bowl and left to stand to room temperature. When the pasta is cooked, take 1 to 2 Tbs of the hot pasta water and stir into the pesto mixture. Drain pasta and toss with pesto. Serve right away. Optional toppings include more grated cheese, chopped fresh tomatoes and fresh ground black pepper.

To Freeze Pesto

Prepare the above recipe, but do not add the cheeses or butter. Spoon the mixture into a plastic container or divide evenly between 6 sections of an ice cube tray, for individual servings. Freeze, then remove from container and place in a freezer plastic bag removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn/discoloration. 1 cube = 1 serving size. When ready to serve, defrost and add cheeses and butter, proceeding as above in #3.

from Pat Navin

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