With two frosts already under my belt and nightly temperatures routinely dropping into the 30s, I decided to stop playing chicken with my basil and the weather. I picked almost all my basil (and Mom contributed some of hers as well) and made a huge batch of pesto. Pesto freezes well in small freezer bags or in ice cube trays; if using trays, place cubes into freezer bags once they’re solid. Just defrost whenever you want to use it. Pesto sounds really good on some cold winter nights, but if you want it in January, you’d better make it now.
This is the pesto recipe that I more or less follow:
2 -3 cups fresh basil leaves
¼ cup pine nuts
1 garlic clove
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
In a food processor or blender, combine the basil, nuts, garlic, salt and pepper until finely chopped. With the food processor still running, slowly add the olive oil until a nice, thick consistency is formed. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese. *I have also added the cheese while the pesto is still the food processor and pulsed it a couple of times, that works fine too.
Remember that pesto will turn dark fairly quickly, so if you’re not going to use immediately, be sure to cover it with plastic wrap – press the wrap directly down on top of the pesto – and refrigerate.