Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bundles of basil: Pesto

I'm not a big fan of super hot weather and humidity, and I don't care much for hanging out at the pool or in the sun. Exercising outside, for me at least, has to be done in the early morning hours, and the pollen count makes that somewhat difficult even then.

As you can surmise, summer is not my favorite season.

But it does bring us basil, and basil makes me happy.

Today I made a pesto with the basil that's growing like mad in our garden. I changed it from my usual recipe a bit: It has walnuts in place of pine nuts. I realized at the last minute that I didn't have any pine nuts, but I had been wanting to try walnuts in the recipe for a while.

However, not that all is said and done, I have to say the pesto tastes better with pine nuts. (I did once try a cilantro-walnut pesto, and that was superb.)

Here's my recipe. I like to use it on grilled vegetables, on crackers, as a sandwich spread, and on pasta or gnocchi. You can cut it in half, of course. I made a large batch to get rid of some of the basil we have.

Basil pesto (makes 2 cups; a serving of pasta needs about 2 tablespoons)

3 ounces fresh basil, washed and trimmed

3/4 cup toasted pine nuts (or walnuts in a pinch)

3/4 cup olive oil

3 large cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shredded parmesan (packed)

black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until almost completely smooth.

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