Babu’s Basil PestoPosted: July 30, 2012
For the last several years we have grown a few kinds of basil and Babu makes batches of Pesto. Sometimes we give cubes or jars away as gifts, but mostly we cook with it throughout the year. This year we grew parsley and made chimichurri as well, but today’s post is about Pesto. Here is the recipe he uses. Our pesto is on the dry side of pesto’s. I don’t really like lots of oil and you can always add more when you cook with it if you think it needs it.
3 packed cups basil
4-5 gloves garlic
1/3 cup walnuts or pine nuts or a mix of both if you prefer
3/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan
1/4 t salt and pepper ( I disagree with this, but I don’t make it so who am I to complain)
3/4 cup olive oil
We use the food processor, cram all the crap in there except for the oil, then turn it on and give a bit to start blending, then add the oil through the top until it gets to the consistency we prefer and starts to come together. We then dole this mixture out into ice-cube trays or small, no more than 2 cup, glass or plastic freezer safe containers and freeze. The cubes get busted out of the trays and put into Ziploc freezer bags, the jars go straight into the freezer. Pesto is a bit like Guacamole in that the Basil oxidizes when exposed to air in the fridge and the top layer of it will turn darker than the pretty green underneath. So you don’t want to have more in the fridge that you can use within a weekish. I’m the one who lets thing go much further than him, so it’s kind of up to your own personal feelings about foods and their use by dates. I’ll eat the same leftovers for 5 lunch and dinners straight if they are good enough because that is how I cooked when I was poor and single in my 20′s. I’d make a batch of something and proceed to eat it every night for dinner and/or day for lunch until it was gone. I’m the girl who will sniff yogurt 10+ days past it’s sell by date and if it stands up to the test, go ahead and eat it. I still remember having a grocery budget of $50 a trip ( about twice a month) and going with a list, a calculator and my coupons. If I had enough left over I got a case of Diet Coke, if not decisions had to be made. But as usual I am digressing. <3
OK so this year we are growing four kinds of basil and they all taste and smell a bit different. I have pics below so you can see how the varieties differ in looks.
Sweet Italian Basil
Spicy Globe Basil
Some years we mix the Basil’s into a sort of special pesto but for this batch we kept them fairly separate. Given the long hot summer we are having we should get at least one more batch out of the garden. But we are not the greatest at harvesting the plants before they flower, so I have to pick off flowers and then give them a haircut. It probably isn’t THAT big a deal to use the flowers but it will likely change the texture and taste of the batch if there are too many of them. Also we stripped the leaves off the stems so our batches are mostly leaves and not that many stems. Again, we do this because we have a bad habit of not harvesting enough. Shrugs, it’s a suburban kitchen garden, it is what it is so we adapt. If the stems are too thick or the plants are too leggy they can be fibrous and that can result in hairy pesto, BLEH! After we strip we give them a cold water bath wash and then I use my OXO Salad Spinner; BEST invention EVER, NO HOME should be without one of these, to spin the excess water from the leaves. Be sure to smash and peel your garlic. You can play with amounts of any of the ingredients to suit your personal tastes, I am a tweaker of ratios’s in almost all dishes. This is why I don’t bake and why I’m really good at sauces. OK, enough rambling It is late and I am tired from my run and staying up late last night so not all of these are labeled. Have a great week Lovies!