Sunday, August 8, 2010

Green Gold

When my girls were babies, they didn't like tomato sauce on their spaghetti, they liked "green spaghetti".  Back then I'd buy pesto from the store, which in my opinion is expensive and doesn't taste as good as homemade pesto.  So I learned to make my own pesto.

This started a long tradition of growing, harvesting, and making basil pesto.  A tradition of my sister and nieces coming to Utah and going home to California stocked with frozen pesto.  A tradition of Jessica and her friends eating bagels with cream cheese and pesto (among other things).  A tradition of not just making one kind of spaghetti for dinner but having both a red spaghetti and a green spaghetti, since Kenzie still prefers the green.  We all have our favorite ways to use and eat pesto.

This year I have 20 basil plants growing in my garden.  I make and freeze pesto so I can use it all winter long.  It is delicious on pasta, sandwiches, bagels, soups, lasagna and my personal favorite - pizza.  I never have enough pesto in my freezer.  See my recipe below for making the best Basil Pesto ever!!!

If you grow your own basil:  Cut the stocks from the plant.  Make sure you don't cut the stock back all the way, you want to leave some stem and leaves for a second growth (that means more basil!)

If you don't grow your own basil be prepared to spend a lot for a little bit of basil.  You can find it in the produce section of most grocery stores.  Check out farmers markets, local produce growers, or import stores may have some.  There is an import store near me called Pirate O's that has great local grown basil for a good price.

Clean and dry the basil leaves.  I put my basil stocks in the sink full of water with a drop of liquid soap.  Agitate the water and then rinse the stocks in fresh water.  Remove the leaves from the stems.  To dry the leaves I use a salad spinner.
For this recipe you'll need:
2 cups fresh basil - tightly packed
3 Tbsp. pine nuts
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
3/4 cup grated romano cheese
2/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
Put all ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth.
Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.  I like to use cup size freezer containers, they're the perfect size and they're stackable.  Find them wherever canning supplies are sold.
Try making your own pesto.  You'll be surprised how easy pesto is to make.  Leave me a comment, I want to hear about your successes and how you use your pesto!

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