This spring I nestled just a few tiny starts of basil in my flowerbeds among those zinnias you see in the photo. Now I’m ecstatically swimming in basil! I’m making and freezing pesto to enjoy all winter long on pasta, pizzas, as a sandwich spread, a meat sauce, a veggie topper and baked into bread. I like this recipe developed by Ina Garten.
¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 ½ cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.
Note: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.