Saturday, June 29, 2013

Homemade Pesto

Nothing says summer quite like pesto from the garden! This year we planted almost 3 flats of basil (3 different varieties) and I just completed my first batch for the summer. Basil is an extremely easy to grow and healthy herb. It is a rich antioxidant and has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is packed with vitamins, minerals and healthy essential oils that benefit the body.

I freeze pesto in little 1/2 cup containers to use in recipes throughout the year. Pesto can be added to pasta, rice, omelets, soups, sandwiches, chicken and fish. Most recipes include either Pecorino Romano and/or Parmesan cheeses, but I left these out for those in my family who cannot have dairy.

I like to make things in big batches if I'm making a mess anyway. So, I used an 8 ounce package of pine nuts and multiplied all of the ingredients below by 7. This made over 6 cups of pesto.

2 cups fresh basil, stems removed, washed and drained
3 Tbsp. pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
dash of pepper
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
optional: 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated

Toast the pine nuts on a cookie sheet in the oven for a few minutes. Put all ingredients into your food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into small containers and freeze or refrigerate until ready to use.

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