September 2, 2010 by Sara Kreidler
We’re preparing for winter in a big way. Over the last few weeks, we’ve made and frozen approximately 38 quarts of stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce, 22 cups of pesto, and 6 dozen or so homemade ravioli (some filled with a blend of ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, some with roasted beets and goat cheese). Of course, I have taken pictures of none of this.
We bought a half bushel of basil from the CSA, which for the record is more basil than anyone could ever use. After making 22 cups of pesto, we had barely put a dent in the box, and our food processor’s motor was so overheated that we could barely touch the sides of the machine. Lesson learned.
The following recipe makes about 1 cup of pesto, and can easily be doubled (or tripled) if you do something stupid like buy a half bushel of basil and need to make quick use of it.
Adapted from “Everyday Italian” by Giada DeLaurentiis.
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 packed cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- salt and pepper
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pine nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, about 4-5 minutes, stirring the nuts about half way through the cooking time to make sure they toast evenly. Keep a close eye on the pine nuts because they can quickly go from toasted to burned. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- In a food processor, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper until finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add the oil using the oil dispenser tube thing on the top of the food processor (that is the technical term for it, I believe) until the mixture is smooth and thick.
- Use a spatula to transfer the pesto to a bowl. Add the cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- If using immediately, set aside until pasta is ready and then toss with hot pasta, adding a little reserved pasta water if needed.
- If freezing, spoon pesto into a clean, empty ice-cube tray and freeze until set, then remove cubes from tray and place in a ziploc bag. The ice-cubes of pesto are great when making a small batch of pasta, or for tossing a cube into some basic tomato sauce. Alternatively, you can freeze the pesto in 1 cup containers for easy thawing and use.