Pesto–a sauce for all seasons!

7 Jan

I love pesto. Of course, everyone loves pesto in the summer, tossed delicately with pasta and garden-fresh veggies. But you know what? It’s great in the winter, too, and it’s a fantastic kitchen staple if you’re looking for something different.  You can put it on chicken or fish; stir it into risotto; make vegetable soup and top with a dollop of pesto; or spread it on a slice of homemade whole-grain bread. It’s just….good. That’s all. Good.

Here’s my pesto recipe. I am rather unscientific in the kitchen and this recipe reflects that; proportions can be changed to suit your preferences or what you have on hand. You can also use any of a number of yummy cheeses here–Parmesan is traditional but I’ve used Gruyere, Manchego, even a particularly hard Cheddar. I’ve also used different nuts when I’ve run out of pine nuts; walnuts are pretty good!

What I like to do is to make a big double batch of this whenever I make it during the summer. Then I take the leftovers and freeze them for the winter when my basil plants have gone into the Great Herb Garden in the Sky.

PESTO

Fill your blender or food processor with basil leaves. I never measure this, I just use a lot.

Throw in a chunk of hard cheese such as Parmesan (again, the amount is flexible–I like to use a piece about half the size of my fist).

Add two or three good-sized garlic cloves.

Pour in some olive oil–about 1/2 cup.

Finally, throw in a cup or a cup and a half of pine nuts.

Blend or process until smooth and green and lovely. If you use a blender, you may have to stop and stir it down a few times. Serve with almost anything. The only caveat is that it’s not a food that holds up to heat very well, so you may want to cook your food, then add the pesto, rather than baking or cooking the pesto with the food.

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