I absolutely LOVE basil! The smell is so wonderful, if I could buy it as perfume I would! I love basil so much, when I get home from market, whatever is left, I make in to pesto immediately. In fact last Saturday, I made myself a big batch and froze it to enjoy all winter!
Making pesto is so easy and takes only a few minutes. All you need is:
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Special equipment: A blender or food processor (I use my Vitamix blender, I finally bought one and love it!)
I put the basil in my blender the parmesan goes on top, then toss in the olive oil and nuts as well as 3 garlic cloves. I add salt and pepper last once I taste it. My friend Trudy gave me a great idea! She freezes the pesto in to ice cube trays. That way she gets the perfect amount. I wish I had thought of that years ago!
I use Pesto in everything! The benefits of being a member of the farm community is that we often trade our goods for other artisan goods. I absolutely love the bread that Mark at Norwood Cottage Bakery bakes. He trades his bread for our arugula. I love to spread the pesto right on top of his cottage bread. I also spread pesto on top of chicken breasts and cook them in the oven, they come out delicious. When I make lasagna, I put a tablespoon of pesto in the ricotta cheese mixture rather than herbs. When I make pasta, I drain the pasta and throw some pesto in with the pasta and add a cup of water I reserved from the pasta water. When it comes to Tomato sandwiches, you can’t go wrong with a pesto spread along with Duke’s mayonnaise of course!
Matt is also bringing basil micro greens to market! These are the baby first leaves of the basil plant and are phenomenal!
I sprinkle them in everything, including watermelon and cantaloupe! I also love to make tomato salad out of our cherry tomatoes. It is so easy, slice cherry tomatoes in half, add some mozzarella balls, basil micro greens, and a splash of balsamic vinegar and you have the freshest salad ever!
Me, Matt, and our son Sage are excited to see you at the South of the James Farmer’s Market tomorrow from 8-12!