If all the sudden your summer garden or patio planters have been exploding with fresh herbs as mine have, you might be thinking, as I was, what can I do with all this basil? After all, you only need a few leaves to season the spaghetti sauce or create a tomato, basil caprese salad.
Fun facts about Basil:
- A culinary herb originally from tropical regions of Asia and mainly used in Italian cuisine.
- It’s an herb plant that belongs to the mint family.
- Contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, Vitamin A (for healthy eyes) and Vitamin K (vital for clotting your blood).
- Picking the “cream of the crop:” Look for bright green leaves with no insect damage or brown spots.
- Trim the basil stem bottoms and place in a glass of water (like flowers in a vase). They will last about a week.
Making pesto sauce is one of the best ways to extend the basil harvest:
When your plant begins to burst with a bounty of basil, a great way to preserve and extend the harvest is by making pesto.
Pesto sauce originated from northern Italy. It was traditionally made in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. Lucky for us, we have quicker methods using modern kitchen appliances that allow us to make the sauce in minutes!
Not only is the sauce easy to make and delicious, but it’s extremely versatile. You can put pesto on pasta, spread it on a sandwich as a condiment, use is as a sauce on pizza, or season meats, chicken or seafood with it!
Here’s my recipe for Pesto Sauce:
4 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
10 leaves of flat-leafed (Italian) parsley (just the leaves, not the stems)
½ c chopped walnuts or pine nuts (if anyone has nut allergies, you can omit the nuts and the pesto will still taste great)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
½ c grated Parmesan cheese
¼ c grated Romano cheese
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor, blender or chopper, pulse together the basil leaves, nuts, garlic and cheeses. Slowly stream in the oil slowly while it is blending. Check the consistency and if needed add in another ¼ cup of olive oil. Stir in the salt and pepper to taste.
The homemade pesto will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. A thin layer of olive oil on the top of the sauce will keep it from discoloring.
Do you like pesto sauce?
Have you ever made homemade pesto?