• Home
  • Services/Classes
  • Food Writing
  • Cookbooks
  • Travel
  • Sources/Links
  • Contact

Basil Pesto Tips

August 27, 2009 | Technique

It’s that time of year – the herbs are in full bloom and either they are going to start bolting and going to seed, or you need to do something to preserve them for use over the winter. I don’t really like drying herbs – the effort of gathering them up, tying them, hanging them, waiting…I just don’t think I have the patience. More importantly, I don’t like the flavor as much of dried herbs.
So, when my basil gets this large, my go to technique is pesto. Now pesto actually just means a paste of something, and pesto can be made from lots of herbs – tarragon, cilantro, parsley, arugula – as well as other things like nuts.

A traditional basil pesto contains Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Not Parmesan that you buy in the US, not the stuff in the green shaker, but the real thing, which you know from the stamped label on the rind. It comes from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, known as the epicenter of great food in Italy. By the way, don’t throw that rind away – they sell them for about $7 a pound at Whole Foods, so put them in a bag and freeze them for flavoring soups and stews later. When I make pesto to freeze, I leave the cheese out. That way I have flexibility for using it in a citrus pesto without the cheese if I choose or adding the cheese when I later thaw it. Adding cheese at this point also just increases the volume, and I don’t want to take up more freezer space than I need to.
And one of the best ways to freeze pesto (basil or otherwise) is to spoon it into an ice cube tray. Once the cubes have frozen you can just pop them out into a bag or other covered container. The individual cubes seem to be just enough pesto for a recipe for two and you then aren’t continually thawing and refreezing the remaining pesto. So take a few minutes this week to make some herb pesto – either with herbs from your own garden or from the bountiful stock at the farmers’ markets. Around the end of February you’ll be really glad you did!

Leave a Reply

Restaurant Reviews

  • the-infinite-monkey-theorem-barrel-tasting-lab-collage-2
  • acorn denver saffron risotto with tomatoes basil-1
  • north
  • linger denver scallops with melon and house made salumi
  • steubens blackened chicken club
  • black pearl denver shrimp tacos
  • tapas

My Cookbooks


Search by Ingredient

almonds apples arugula Asian asparagus avocado bacon balsamic basil beans beef beets bison braising broccoli brunch butter cabbage cake carrots celery cheese chicken chiles chili chocolate cilantro coconut cookbook cookies corn cranberries CSA cucumber curry dips eggplant eggs fennel feta cheese gardens garlic giveaway goat cheese grains grilling herbs ice cream Italian kale lamb leeks leftovers lemon lime Mexican mint muffins mushrooms nuts oats olive oil onions orange pancetta parsley peppers pesto pickles pine nuts pizza plums pork potatoes quinoa rice ricotta roasting salmon sausage shrimp soy spaghetti spinach squash stews strawberries sushi sweet potatoes swiss chard tarragon Thanksgiving tomatoes tortillas tuna turkey vegetarian vinegar yogurt zucchini

About Michele

Chef Profile - CO Homes & Lifestyles

CHL with books 7-2014
Get the Cooking with Michele ® Newsletter

Help End Hunger

Other Stuff

Follow Michele Morris / Cooking with Michele's board Party Food - Great Appetizers on Pinterest.

my foodgawker gallery

Sommelier Courses and Wine Classes from the International Wine Guild Wine School

The International Wine Guild Wine School

MyFreeCopyright.com Registered & Protected