Sunset

Basil, bolting.

The Italian basil in our outdoor kitchen garden was bolting,so it was time to harvest it and make pesto for the freezer. (Check out our tips for how to grow basil.)

How to harvest basil.

I snipped off the stalks just above a spot where they branchout. This way, the plant will keep growing and likely produce another cropbefore the frost hits (and the plant withers and turns black).

 I pulled the leaves from the stalks, gave them a goodrinse, then spun the basil dry and measured it. Once I knew how much basil I had, thenI’d know how much of the other ingredients to get ready.

 Ingredients for a double batch of the recipebelow.(You can use these same techniques for pesto made from other herbs, likeparsley and mint, too.)

 

Classic pesto for thefreezer

MAKES: 2 cups, enough for 2 lbs. pasta

8 oz. parmesan cheese

3 garlic cloves

1 qt. packed basil leaves

2 handfuls toasted pine nuts (cooled)

3/4 cup olive oil

 1. Cut the parmesan in chunks, grind it up in the foodprocessor, and dump it into a bowl. (I actually prefer the domestictriangles of parmesan here to the fancy Italian stuff, which has so much flavorit kind of overwhelms the basil.)

2. Whirl the garlic in the processor until minced. Add therest of the ingredients, including the cheese, and pulse until the pesto is not quite smooth.

3. Scrape the pesto into containers (fill them full so the pesto won't darken) and freeze up to 3 months.

4. Thaw overnight in the fridge, or put a container in abowl of warm water to thaw if you’re in a hurry. That’s it!

Here's the pesto ready for the freezer.

And here’s the pesto over big shells. Yum!

I also love pesto asa sandwich spread with turkey. Still hungry for pesto? Here's a story about pesto's premiere in Sunset, way back in 1946.

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