Basil is one of my favorite spices. You can use it in so many dishes, or you can just leave it plain, adding it to tomatoes, mozzarella, whatever. I have two basil plants in the garden and both have produced lots of basil this year, something I'm really pleased about. The last few years, the bugs got to my basil before I did and I was so disappointed! But this year, I've found myself looking for ways to use my basil and pesto won out as the quickest, tastest way to eat it. I made two batches already and I'm freezing it to keep it fresh, as it does go bad fast in the refrigerator. Tonight, I tossed whole wheat thin spaghetti with the pesto, added fresh twisted bread from a local bakery, and threw together a salad from the garden. All that healthy food helps me compensate for the big bowl of chocolate ice cream I plan to eat later!
1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
4 gloves garlic, peeled and quartered (I used bottled chopped garlic)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil
In a food processor, combine basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and salt. Cover and process, adding the oil through the top until smooth. Stop processor and scrape down pesto as needed. Add more cheese and/or salt to taste.
Toss with hot pasta. If not using right away, pesto will store in the refrigerator for up to three days. Store in freezer if not using within that time frame.
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
"Why do I get pesto? Why do I think I'll like it? I keep trying to like it, like I have to like it. Everybody likes pesto. You walk into a restaurant, that's all you hear: pesto, pesto, pesto. Where was pesto ten years ago?"
-George Costanza, Seinfeld