I love pesto! My hubby uses it in making many delicious meals and we used to buy it in a jar to savor the taste. This summer, I grew basil for the first time and had a bumper crop (read about it here)!
So, I decided to make my own pesto to freeze for the winter. Pesto is an oil based sauce and it can be very thick, so I don’t think that canning would be a good option this time, so freezing seemed the optimal choice for both safety and yumminess.
That having been decided, I didn’t want to take up any more freezer space than necessary. Additionally, I knew that the basil would likely oxidize and turn brown if not packed tightly into containers to minimize air pockets. So, I began to do some research. I have found that the recipes at the One Hundred Dollars A Month blog with Mavis were usually really good, so I decided to modify one of hers.
So here is what I came up with. It is really more of a method than an actual recipe that allows you to use what you have and adjust to taste.
Clean, drained basil leaves
Peeled garlic cloves
Walnuts, Pine Nuts (pricey), pecans, etc.
A decent olive oil
Pack (and I mean pack them in fairly tightly because they will mince down into nothing) basil leaves into your food processor. Add about 4 peeled garlic cloves to the top along with a good handful or two of the nut of your choice (maybe a cup).
Pulse and let the leaves start to grind down. Open the top and add 1 cup or so of parmesan cheese (out of the container from the store is fine or grate your own, just get that goodness in there!).
Turn processor on and drizzle olive oil until the mixture just starts to come together to make a super thick paste. STOP! If you are freezing the sauce, this is where you want it. Pack into small containers or baggies and either fill to the very brim or squeeze all the air out. Label and freeze.
To use the sauce immediately, keep adding that drizzle of olive oil slowly until the mixture becomes a spoonable sauce. It shouldn’t heap up on a spoon, but be just barely pourable. That is perfect for immediate use!
To use the frozen sauce, defrost and then add to a bowl and slowly add in fresh olive oil (stir with a small whisk or a fork) until the consistency is the same as for ready to use. That’s it! Add to your recipes and taste a bit of summertime all year long!
What is your favorite use for basil or pesto?
Till next time,