06 November 2010

Pesto, Pesto, Pesto

Yesterday shortly after noon we were having some little snow flurries. That is quite unusual for us at this time of year. Temps were in the 40s so nothing stuck. By late afternoon the sun had even come back out. But clearing means cold and we were under a freeze warning for the night. Now we all know what that means! Plants have to come inside for the season. And as our thermometer this morning said 26°, it is a good thing they did.

DD#2 and I got all the citrus trees, bay tree, cinnamon tree, house plants and some of the herbs inside, but then we ran out of room. Lots of basil was still growing in pots outside. I took my trusty Wiss flower shears and a grocery bag out to harvest. These shears are THE BEST for cutting flowers or herbs.

Now making pesto is something I do every year in the fall. I always plant a gazillion basil plants for two reasons. First, it is my favourite herb in the entire world and I use it practically every day during the summer. And second, I want to have A LOT to make pesto to see us through the winter. I have made this so often I don't even use a recipe anymore. The basic ingredients are pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, basil and olive oil. I just put everything in the food processor till it looks right.

Earlier I was reading on my friend Martha's blog, Lines from Linderhof. She prefers pesto with no Parmesan and makes hers based on Anna Pump's recipe in Loaves and Fishes. Hmmm. That sounded interesting. Martha posted her version, but I got out the book to see how Anna had written it. I like the idea, but I adapted the recipe a little more.

Washing a sink full of basil:

After gently washing I picked all the leaves off the stems and put the leaves in my salad spinner to get rid of the excess water. Yellowed leaves and stems were discarded.

I my OXO salad spinner. So much that I have two different sizes. The large one is sold as a salad spinner and the small one as an herb spinner. At pesto making time there is so much basil that the large spinner comes out to play.

One batch of the recipe fills up my food processor. I had enough basil for two batches.

Also, I used Trader Joe's toasted pine nuts.

This gave me six jars and just a little left over.

There were six jars of pesto already in the freezer that I had made earlier in the season. The jars I made last night are now also in the freezer, waiting for when it's time to come out and give us a fix of summer in the dead of winter.

This really is a tasty pesto. Like Martha, I think I might like pesto better without the Parm. I had a little leftover after filling the jars, so I had a night time snack of Cherokee Purple tomatoes from my CSA box, sea salt, and pesto. Food of the gods!


1/2 cup pine nuts
6 large cloves garlic
5 packed cups basil leaves, buds and flowers
1/2 to 1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 1/4 cups olive oil

Put the pine nuts, garlic, salt and basil into the food processor. Pulse a few times and begin slowly adding the oil while the processor is running. Process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Use immediately or pour into jars, top with lids and freeze.

I'm linking this recipe to Kim's Saturday Swap over at Quit Eating Out. Click on the logo to check it out and join in the fun.

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Linda said...

Wow you are about as cold down there as we are up here. We have a very heavy frost this morning...I harvested the basil quite a while ago and made pesto. I think my tarragon may not have made it through this frost.
Looks great Becky!

Lizzy said...

I can't believe you had flurries, too! Love the look of the pesto on your purple tomatoes...I want a bite!!!

Becky said...

Thanks ladies! We were really surprised at the weather.

Linda, my tarragon bit the dust a couple of months ago when it was so hot and dry.

Lizzy, c'mon down. I will share.

Marydon said...

G'morn Becky ~ Ohh, that looks sooo yummy!

Our hills are supposed to get snow showers today ... it is a brisk cold morn here, tho ... lots of sun.

My 'snow' widget you will have to ask Sherry, my 'sis' @ http://countrywingsinphoenix.blogspot.com/

She does all my 'fanciness' for me. I know nothing but how to type.

Have a beautiful PS ~
TTFN ~ Marydon

Southerncook said...

Becky, Great post for QEO. Here in N FL we have a freeze warning for tonight. I took my orchids in last night since it did go down into the 30's. This afternoon I will be in the garden and will do the same, cut my remaining basil for pesto and moving more plants in.


Southern Belle said...

Oh gosh, your pesto looks delicious! I just love recipes with pesto. Thanks for sharing!

suz616 said...

Thank you for the great recipe, Becky!

Becky said...

Ladies, this pesto really is good. I'm going to use more of it today making Ina's Pasta, Pesto and Peas. Hope you all will enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Hi Becky! Thanks so much for sharing this in the Swap. It's so funny ~ our family went on a family date last night and enjoyed some delicious pesto as part of the meal. We were all saying next year we want to grow LOTS of basil so we can make pesto to last through the winter. Thanks for the recipe! Have a wonderful weekend...

Craig Miyamoto said...

I can eat pesto all day with zesto! Do you lightly toast the pine nuts first?

Becky said...

Kim, what a coincidence. Hope you will enjoy this when you have basil next year.

Craig, I actually used TJ's pine nuts this time which come already slightly toasted.

Cozy Home Scenes said...

No snow where I live, but we had a bad hail storm the other day. Kind of scary when you are out on a day of shopping and hail is falling on the car as you are driving.

I love pesto, but I've never been a big basil fan on anything else. Considering how expensive pesto is to buy premade, I might have to do like you did and plant some next year for this purpose. Yours looks yummy!

Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog today. Happy Saturday!

Holly said...

oh, this pesto looks amazing...I'm going to bookmark this so I will have the recipe....just in case I ever get to make it.
My husband is an Auburn alum...that is so neat that your dad played football for LSU - wow!

Ces said...

OMG! My mouth is watering and I have nothing here except crackers and my son's spray on cheese whiz!

Becky, the jars look so beautiful. This is truly a feast for my eyes. Makes me want to do it but I know they will end up in the fridge for a year, untouched if it was my place.

Ces said...

Holly had a good idea. I also bookmarked this page just in case I become ambitious this holiday season. I will test it on my guests. Hahahaha!