Posted by on Aug 20, 2012 in Recipe | 0 comments

Beautiful Bermuda
Photograph taken by Jasmine Hwang

Summer is quickly coming to a close and classes are beginning all too soon. In fact, mine already have. [insert dramatic sob here] Besides having to cut short our quiet days of lazing at the beach to pick up books that have been gathering dust the last few months, my little herb garden will soon be bowing down to the forces of mother nature as winter sets in. And so, I decided to pick everything while I could and put it to good use. 

For my basil, there was one easy option — making pesto. Homemade pesto was really the whole reason why I had even decided to try planting a small herb garden this summer and brave the swarms of bugs and insects to water the precious plants. Was it worth it? Totally. As I mentioned in an earlier post, fresh herbs really make a difference both in taste and smell. 

To make pesto, you’ll need quite a bit of fresh basil, which is why I had never bothered to make it before since buying even a small bunch of basil from the store is on the pricier side. It was cheaper to just settle for store bought pesto if I really needed it. If you love fresh basil, which is great for daily cooking, then I’d highly suggest you plant some. It’s fresh, it’s organic, and it’s a much cheaper alternative than the slightly wilted leaves you get from the store.

Pesto’s great for so many things. In pasta, with chicken, spread on bread or in a sandwich, or even made into a sauce. It’s super fragrant and it lasts for weeks in your fridge (or freezer if you don’t plan on using it for a while). Plus, it makes for a great gift alongside homemade jams. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (minimum) packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • ~ 1/2 bulb garlic 
  • ~ 1 cup EVOO 
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • salt, pepper

Note: I would highly suggest you make pesto with a food processor as it lets you pulse everything so there is still a nice texture to it. Since I didn’t have a food processor, I used my blender and was left with a very fine paste…which I remedied by adding more finely chopped garlic and nuts. 

Depending on how much basil you have, you’ll want to tweak the recipe to your own tastes. I had quite a bit, about 4-5 cups packed, so the amount of garlic I added may be too much for just 2 cups of packed basil. (I love the taste of garlic, so I added about 1 bulb.) If you don’t have pine nuts, using only walnuts are fine. Or you could probably substitute with almonds or some other nut as well. Pine nuts (lightly toasted) are preferable.

Quick and simple, that big jar of pesto has lasted me a few weeks now and I’ve been using it in sandwiches, on toasted buttered bread, in pasta, and giving them away in small jars to friends. One thing I found out, was that the pesto quickly begins to iodize and brown, so if you’re serving it to guests, it’s best to add it in last…just for presentation’s sake. 

~ AJ ~

Photographs taken and provided by AnnMarie Hwang

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