Does anything say summer like fresh basil and tomatoes? This quick and easy pesto recipe freezes well so that you can have a taste of summer all year round.
- Food Processor (preferred) or Blender
- 2 Cups Basil Leaves
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 2/3 Cup Pine Nuts
- ¾ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Toast the pine nuts in a saute pan over medium high heat, tossing frequently (or mixing) until they are golden brown. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to ensure they don't continue cooking in the warm pan.
- Place the basil and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to coarsely chop. Scrape down the sides.
- Add the pine nuts to the oil in a measuring cup. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil and nuts through the tube. Stop processing as soon as all of the oil and nuts have been added.
- Scrape the sides down and pulse once or twice to make sure there are no large chunks. The mixture should have some texture and not be too smooth.
- Fold in the cheese and store in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 2 weeks.
- Pesto freezes well, but do not add the cheese if you plan to freeze.
PASTA WITH PESTO
- Place a 1/3 cup sauce for 1/2 pound of pasta in the bottom of a large bowl.
- When the pasta is al dente, drain and add to the sauce along with half a ladle full of the pasta water.
- Add an additional tablespoon of sauce if necessary to coat (and 1/4 cup grated cheese if using previously frozen sauce). The pasta should be well coated but not drowning in the sauce.
- Finish with a fresh grating of cheese and drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.
- I find a food processor produces sauce with more texture than a blender. If you don’t have a food processor, go ahead and use a blender, but instead of pouring the oil and pine nuts in with the motor running, add the with the basil leaves and garlic and pulse on and off until a sauce develops.
- I recommend using a good quality dried pasta, as the starch will help the sauce to cling to the pasta. Spaghetti, Chiattara, Bucatini, Orrecchiete and .Casarecci (shown below) are all good choices.
- I Usually make a double batch of this, especially in the summer when basil is plentiful and keep it in the freezer so I have it on hand. It thaws very quickly.
- Sprinkle a few dollops over tomatoes and mozzarella cheese or buratta for an elevated Caprese Salad.
- Add a dollop to Tomato Basil Soup.
- Mix a tablespoon with a few pinches of red pepper flakes and an extra drizzle of oil as a marinade for shrimp or chicken and grill.
- Try using Arugula for a nice peppery pesto, especially when it is abundant at the farmers markets in the summer. I suggest using the wide leaf variety.