Nothing smells better than a freshly picked bunch of basil. This time of year my basil seems to grow faster than I can use it. Basil Pesto is great way to use up that fresh basil and an easy way to have a little lagniappe all year-long.
There are so many uses for pesto, it’s great on pasta, sandwiches/pannini, dips, pizzas, soups, fish or chicken, or as above over fresh mozzarella cheese. Pesto freezes well – divide the leftovers into an ice-cube tray, seal it tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. After it has frozen, I place in a freezer zip lock bag. Since Pesto has a very concentrated flavor, you will not use more than one or two cubes at any time (unless coating large quantities of meat!). Later pop out a cube, defrost in microwave to use.
This is one of the easiest bunch of goodness you’ll ever make. I use my blender. (Can you believe I don’t have a food processor?)
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted – trust me here, toasting makes all the difference in the world
- 3 cloves or garlic, roasted
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, optional, you know I like a little kick!
- 1/2 to 1 cup grated Parmesan – I always say, ‘more is better’
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup good Olive Oil – to make it smooth and somewhat emulsified.
Chop the basil, pine nuts, and garlic together with the salt and peppers. Add the cheese. Then add the olive oil in a stream until it looks right. Sit back and wait for the Wows, Ohs, and Ahhhs!