I love basil, and I even worked on a basil farm in college. One of my favorite basil recipes is pesto, and my children love it too! We make it from organic pesto we grow in our garden, and we eat it on baguettes, crackers, pasta, pizza, etc. It is really easy to make if you have a blender, but be careful to stop and stir often. You can easily burn up the motor on your blender if you are not patient.
Pulverize in a blender:
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
Add to nuts and puree:
- 3 cups fresh basil (no stems)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil
That’s it! You can use a mortar and pestle if you don’t have a blender, but be prepared for a workout! For the best flavor, pesto should be made with pine nuts; however, organic pine nuts can be pretty pricey. In a pinch, I have substituted walnuts, and recently I used pecans at a friend’s house. The different nuts give the pesto a slightly different flavor, but it was still really good. Also, you can substitute arugula for the basil to make a different kind of pesto.
This recipe is modified from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, one of my first vegetarian cookbooks.
Image: The Marmot on Flickr under a Creative Commons License