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Basil Pesto

September 15, 2008 | Condiments

About this time of year I begin to fret about the fresh herb growing season coming to an end, and this year is no exception. The only difference is that this year my summer was filled with more moving and traveling than cooking, so I have a huge herb garden right outside my kitchen door that’s hardly been touched.

Fortunately, there are numerous ways to preserve herbs, and making pesto is one of the simplest. Today I made basil pesto, but you can make a pesto out of any green herbs, including a combination. And although I included the traditional ingredients for an Italian basil pesto in this one, you can simply chop up your herbs in a food processor and then whirl in enough oil to make a paste.Once you’ve made your pesto, store it in small glass jars and don’t forget to label the jar. I save every little jar I get from a condiment or jelly as they work great for storing pesto. Another trick is to put the pesto into an ice cube trays, and when frozen pop them out and store in a freezer plastic bag. Make your pesto now and freeze it for winter – you’ll be glad you did in the middle of winter when the only fresh herbs you can get are $3.99 for a limp handful in a plastic container in the grocery store.

Basil Pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine basil and garlic in a food processor and process until finely minced. Add cheese and pine nuts and process until well combined. With food processor running, slowly drizzle olive oil in until the pesto reaches the consistency of ketchup. Add salt and mix well. Note: I omit the cheese when making pesto to freeze – I then have a concentrated basil pesto that I can always add cheese to later if desired.

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