If you have ever tasted freshly made pesto you know just how fabulous it can be. It is a most versatile flavoring sauce useful for packing some seriously good flavor into lots of different foods. In fact, it is pretty yummy all by itself. Here are some examples for using pesto: Some folks love it on pasta, it is a good additive to minestrone or lentil soup, you can add it to marinara sauce, or put it on a sandwich instead of mayonnaise, combine it with boiled new potatoes, steamed greens of different types or sauteed zucchini, brush it onto chicken breasts before roasting, spoon it onto grilled lamb or pork chops, or coat fish filets and then coat them with bread crumbs and bake or broil the fish.
I thank my dear cousin, Joan Bliss for this recipe, which I confess I modified somewhat based on review of numerous Internet recipes. Well I made the pesto and it is delicious. Now you can make and enjoy it too.
Ingredients: (makes a bit more than one cup)
2 cups of fresh basil leaves, compressed into a 2 cup Pyrex® measuring cup
1/2 cup of pine nuts or chopped walnuts
1/2 cup of finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. of sea salt
1/4 tsp. of pepper
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts or walnuts in a food processor and pulse until they are coarsely chopped. Add the oil, salt and pepper and process until the oil is fully incorporated and the nearly completed pesto is smooth. Add the cheese and process briefly just until mixed. Transfer the pesto to a serving bowl and serve it, or you can store it for later use.
Typically pesto is stored in as small a glass jar as it will fit in with a tight fitting lid and then kept in the refrigerator. The idea is that exposure to air will degrade the pesto. Some folks pour a small extra amount of olive oil over the top of the pesto to keep the air away from it. Shelf life per se is not typically a problem as the refrigerated pesto tends to be eaten quickly, but the product should be used within two weeks.
I vacuum sealed and froze a portion of the freshly made pesto. And doing that, and I will do more, helps to use the abundant supply of basil in my herb garden. Of course, if I run out of pesto I can still use my frozen vacuum sealed packets fresh basil to make more pesto during the winter.