Friday, July 22, 2011

Making and Freezing Pesto...

While visiting my friend Carmen several years ago, she made me a sandwich that was out of this world. Upon investigation, I found out that she made her own homemade pesto which she had mixed in with a little mayo and then spread on the sandwiches. Well, I just had to get my hands on that recipe!

For the last three years, I've been using her recipe to put my basil to good (and yummy) use. And I'm sure she would not mind me sharing her recipe with all of you because she's very generous like that! :)

Fresh Pesto

1 cup firmly packed basil leaves

1/2 cup firmly packed parsley sprigs with stems removed

1/2 cup fresh-grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

1/4 cup pine nuts (or walnuts or almonds)

1 large garlic clove (I actually use 3-4 because we're garlic-lovers here)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil.

Mix all ingredients except the oil in a food processor or blender. Blend until a paste forms. Gradually add olive oil and blend to the consistency of a soft butter.

Okay, now here are some things I do:

* I have always used pine nuts, but they're hard to find and expensive. This year I was going to buy walnuts instead but I couldn't find any that didn't have a "may contain peanuts" warning on them and my daughter has a severe peanut allergy. I did, however, find that Diamond almonds are peanut free, so I used almonds instead. It made for a courser pesto because almonds are a harder nut than pine nuts or walnuts, but it still tastes absolutely wonderful.

*I never measure the olive oil. I just gradually pour it in until it looks right. I also don't always measure the other ingredients. I have found that as long as you eyeball close to what the measurements are, the pesto will be pretty hard to mess up.

*I roast my garlic cloves in a little of olive oil before adding them. It makes the taste a little deeper and richer. I have a small stoneware baking dish that I put the cloves in, sprinkle them with a little olive oil and then pop them in either the oven or microwave. If you use the microwave, start with a shorter cooking time because you will chance drying the cloves out.

*I just made four batches of this pesto a few days ago. I always make a bunch and then freeze it in ice cube trays. Once completely frozen, I pop the pesto cubes out of the trays and store in a freezer bag. Then I can defrost as many as I need for a recipe, as I need it. I still have some cubes left from last summer, and they still taste as good now as they did then.

Well, I pray that you all would have a blessed day and a great weekend. My darling husband and I are planning on a Chick-fil-a and IKEA date night tonight. Yay! We don't have either of these places nearby so we don't get to go to them very often, so I'm excited!

Oh, and on another note, did you all hear that Borders Books is closing? I got an email from them last night. So sad. With the e-reader movement and declining economy, they just can't make it. Brad and I often go to Borders for coffee and books for our date nights, so this makes me so sad.

Well, I'm off to do laundry!



Along My Country Road said...

Yummmm ..... Can't wait to try this! Thank you so much for sharing!!!
Enjoy date night!

Beth said...

Looks great! I'm going to try some soon as my basil plants are finally flourishing.

Maybe you can make a post on your favorite uses of pesto?

Marne said...

Thanks for this recipe! We have 2 huge basil plants that were close to going to waste since we can't eat it fast enough. This will be a perfect use!

I've tried freezing pesto in the past but it discolored and dried out in the ice cube trays before I got to transfer the cubes to a bag. Do you find this happening with yours?