All of the plants in our garden are starting to yield their wonderful fruit, leaves and flowers… I was inspired this morning by a Rachael Ray episode. It was 7am and it’s true, I already had the food network shows on… So there’s Rachael, boiling away her basil for pesto, and I walk outside on the deck and lay my eyes on… Tall ripe basil bushes… okay says I… let’s get this pesto started!
Luckily, I had all the ingredients necessary to pull off the pesto magic, so I just got to it. I think you’ll agree that this looks magic, and believe me, it tastes even better. If you get the chance today, make a batch, put half in the freezer and then have 10 minute meals ready to go after work on a hot sunny day. What could be better?
- 4 packed cups of basil (two large handfuls), picked through and washed
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 oz each parmesan reggiano and pecorino romano
- 2 oz pine nuts
- Juice of half a lemon
- Half a cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Generous grind of salt and pepper
- If you have large basil leaves, these can be bitter, so take a leaf out of Rachael Ray’s book and place them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then straight into ice water. I use the salad spinner to get rid of the excess water, but you can just blot with kitchen towel if easier and place into a food processor.
- Place your pine nuts into a hot frying pan (no oil) and toss until then are browned all over (about 1-2 mins). Do not take your eyes off them as the second they are burned, they are ruined. Take them out of the pan as soon as they are done so they don’t continue browning and allow to cool before adding to the food processor.
- Grate your garlic into the food processor (this avoids large chunks).
- Squeeze in half a lemon (no pips!) and add your cheese and nuts.
- Grind in salt and pepper generously, remembering that the cheese is already salty…
- Turn the processor on high and process until the nuts are broken down, then use the pulse option as you add in the olive oil through the liquid feeder until combined. Scrape down the sides and pulse again if necessary.
- This amount of ingredients made two eight ounce jars, one of which I put straight in the freezer. The one in the fridge should keep for about a month if it is covered with the oil when you shake it down, but I defy you to keep it around that long…
- Serve with your favorite pasta and lots more pepper and maybe even a squeeze of fresh lemon as you serve. Try adding in a ladle of the pasta cooking water as you combine the pesto with the pasta to create a creamy dreamy dressing.
- Bon appetit!