How to harvest basil.
I snipped off the stalks just above a spot where they branch
out. This way, the plant will keep growing and likely produce another crop
before the frost hits (and the plant withers and turns black).
I pulled the leaves from the stalks, gave them a good
rinse, then spun the basil dry and measured it. Once I knew how much basil I had, then
I’d know how much of the other ingredients to get ready.
Ingredients for a double batch of the recipe
(You can use these same techniques for pesto made from other herbs, like
parsley and mint, too.)
Classic pesto for the
MAKES: 2 cups, enough for 2 lbs. pasta
8 oz. parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves
1 qt. packed basil leaves
2 handfuls toasted pine nuts (cooled)
3/4 cup olive oil
1. Cut the parmesan in chunks, grind it up in the food
processor, and dump it into a bowl. (I actually prefer the domestic
triangles of parmesan here to the fancy Italian stuff, which has so much flavor
it kind of overwhelms the basil.)
2. Whirl the garlic in the processor until minced. Add the
rest of the ingredients, including the cheese, and pulse until the pesto is not quite smooth.
3. Scrape the pesto into containers (fill them full so the pesto won’t darken) and freeze up to 3 months.
4. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or put a container in a
bowl of warm water to thaw if you’re in a hurry. That’s it!
Here’s the pesto ready for the freezer.
And here’s the pesto over big shells. Yum!
I also love pesto as
a sandwich spread with turkey. Still hungry for pesto? Here’s a story about pesto’s premiere in Sunset, way back in 1946.