Our basil and parsley have been growing out of control. Okay, that’s sort of an exaggeration. But it has been doing quite well since we planted the starter plants. We made it our goal to harvest and use everything from our small “farm” this year because we let everything die or go to waste last summer. It’s true. We had roma tomatoes, basil, key limes, and peppers growing up, down, and sidways, and we left it to die. We always have so much fun with planting the starter plants, but rarely do we ever enjoy the fruits of our labor. It’s silly. But I think it’s pure laziness, and partly because who wants to harvest stuff when it can get up to 115 degrees F during the summer months. Blech. But this year is going to be different. I can feel it. I intend to eat every darn thing that grows this year, whether I get sick of it or not. Again, another exaggeration. But you get the point.
Anyway, getting back to this post. So what not a better way to use up the basil and parsley than to make a pesto. Especially since I had extra parmesan, lemons, and garlic lying around from my latest obsession with caesar salads. We also always have an abundance of a variety nuts in our freezer for salads, desserts, and what not. Basil pesto is our favorite prescription to doctor up pasta, over grilled chicken or salmon, as a sandwich spread, and as a dip for our caprese “salad” skewers for party hors d’oeuvres.
What’s your favorite way of using pesto?
Fresh Basil Pesto
3 cups fresh basil, packed
1 cup fresh Italian parsley, packed
2/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more for tasting
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt, to taste
In a medium sized pan over medium heat, toast pine nuts until they get fragrant. Watch these carefully as these can get toasty fragrant to burnt very quickly.
In a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, pine nuts, garlic, solive oil, and lemon juice. [But not the parmesan cheese. We'll get to that in just a little bit.] Pulse until the mixture has a smooth, but thick paste-like consistency.
Poor the basil mixture into a medium-sized bowl, and fold in the parmesan cheese. Mix until the cheese has been thoroughly incorporated. Add more lemon juice and salt to taste. But trust me, you really won’t need anymore salt after this because of the saltiness from the parmesan cheese. However, do add more lemon juice because it really livens up the pesto sauce. But then again, we like lots of lemons in almost everything we eat :)
Makes 3 cups of pesto.