8.21.2010

Basil Pesto




I have been out of town.  Now I'm back and ready to get blogging. 

I came back to some gorgeous basil that needed trimming.  I try not to ever let my herbs bloom.  From what I have read, it changes the flavor of the herb.  So I keep my basil cut down, which is great because I can eat all that delicious green herb and it keeps the plant producing big leaves.  Oh man!  It just has to be my favorite herb...EVER! 

I love to make many batches of basil pesto and freeze it so I have the fresh taste throughout the winter. 

Let's make pesto. 







You will need to pinch off all of the basil leaves. Discard the stems or any blossoms.





Wash and dry the Italian parsley and remove the stems as well.





I toast my pine nuts in a skillet over medium-low heat.





Don't leave the pine nuts because they brown very quickly and before you know it they have burned.  Remove the pine nuts from the heat and place the in a bowl or on a plate to cool. 

Set them aside.  You will need them later.





Place the basil leaves and parsley in a metal mesh strainer because we are going to blanch them.  Why on earth would I blanch the basil and parsley??  So they keep their bright green color.  Have you ever had your pesto turn dark on top?  Blanching will prevent that from happening.





Have a large bowl of ice water ready.





Bring a large pot of water to a boil.





Drop the metal strainer into the boiling water.





Push the herbs down into the water because they will have a tendency to float.  Do not leave the herbs in the boiling water for longer than 15 seconds.  It's a very quick process.





Remove the basil and parsley from the boiling water and immediately put the strainer into the ice water. 






The ice water should cool the herbs almost immediately.





Remove the strainer from the ice water and squeeze out any excess water from the basil and parsley.





Pull out that fabulous food processor that you love and put the blanced herbs into the bowl.





Add the minced garlic...





...toasted pine nuts...





...sea salt...





...freshly ground black pepper...




You will want a good flavored olive oil.  Remember garbage in - garbage out!

 I really like this brand.  I'm sure you have a favorite that you use.





Pour in your favorite Extra-virgin olive oil.





As you can see, all of the ingredients are just layered into the bowl of the food processor.





Give the food processor a good whirl.  Process until you reach the consistency that you would like.





Add the grated Parmesan cheese and just pulse to blend.





See how bright and green my pesto is.





This is the consistency that I like my pesto.  It's a bit creamy. 





This is how I preserve my pesto throughout the winter.

 I just add about 1-2 tablespoons into an ice cube tray. 





Once the ice cube tray is filled, cover it with plastic wrap and place in the freezer until it is completely frozen.

Remove the ice cube tray from the freezer and just pop out the frozen pesto cubes and place in a zip-lock back then return to the freezer.  You can now pull out a few pesto cubes that can be tossed with pasta or added to a sauce or soup. 

I love having it available throughout the winter.  Especially when I have to pay a fortune for a little box of fresh basil leaves. 








Right now I'm going to spread it on some crusty bread.  Fabulous.





There you have it!  Fresh basil pesto that will stay pretty and green. 

Once again, I'm sure you would never ever think about using dry basil or parsley...would you? 


Basil Pesto

3 cups lightly packed fresh basil
1 cup lightly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup pure extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
1 teaspoon minced garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Wash and dry the basil and parsley.  Place in a wire strainer and set aside. 

Prepare a bowl of ice water.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Plunge the strainer with the basil and parsley in it into the boiling water and blanch for 15 seconds.  Remove the strainer from the boiling water and plunge into the ice water bath to stop the cooking.  Drain immediately, squeeze the herbs dry and place into a bowl of a food processor.  Add the oil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and black pepper.  Process until desire consistency.  Add the Parmesan cheese and pulse a few times to blend. 

Transfer to a bowl and adjust seasonings if you would like.  Pesto will keep covered in a refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.  Or freeze the pesto.

Print this recipe



4 comments:

  1. ok, that was amazing!! I think it will take a couple times to perfect it! But, I can't wait to see how the basil tomato tart turns out.

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  2. It makes me so happy when someone likes my recipes. Your tart will turn out wonderful. Thank you for your fabulous post.

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  3. We make Texas pesto and substitute roasted pecans instead of the pine nuts. I also add brown sugar to sweeten it just a bit. My favorite way to eat it is on bread too! Have never blanched it before(We rarely have leftovers). Would you blanch the greens if you were freezing the pesto in icecubes? Thanks for the great blog. It is my new favorite.

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  4. Blanching the basil helps give it that bright green color. Even after freezing the color will be bright. Have you ever noticed that pesto will darken a bit after sitting a while? Blanching will help prevent this from happening. I love pecans and the thought of making pesto with it makes my mouth water. That you so much for the great tip and your kind comment.

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