It's midsummer here in Rhode Island, and that means that your garden or CSA share is really starting to kick it up a notch. One thing that is particularly prolific these last few weeks is basil. This is great because basil is amazing but if you're like me you may be wondering, "what the HECK do I do with all this basil?!"
As a RI children's photographer, I'm often shooting, editing, delivering print orders, and many things in between. I like to make things at home that are healthy but also EASY. See that key word? Easy! Busy parents also like easy. Fortunately, I've got a very easy solution to use some basil: pesto! Pesto is tasty and it's ridiculously easy to make at home. Want to know how? See below for all the details.
- Basil (2 cups, packed, leaves only)
- Garlic (2 cloves, but make sure they're good sized cloves. No puny garlic cloves in this pesto recipe!)
- Pine nuts (1/4 cup). Some people toast theirs. I don't just because I'm horrible at toasting pine nuts. I admit it. If you're a good nut toaster, go ahead and do it!
- Grated cheese (1/2 cup). I generally use Romano, but you can use Parmesan or a Parmesan-Romano blend as well. If you don't eat cheese due to allergy or dietary restrictions, you can leave it out; just add a bit more basil.
- Olive oil (2/3 cup)
- Salt to taste (a little goes a LONG way here. Start with a very small pinch and build up if needed)
- A food processor (I've heard a blender or Magic Bullet can also get the job done but a food processor works best).
First, wash and dry the basil. If you have a salad spinner, it's great for drying quickly! Then, add the basil, pine nuts, and garlic to the food processor. Pulse it a few times until it's nicely chopped.
Next, add the olive oil, cheese, and salt (if desired). Process until it's smooth and blended. Use right away or pour into a container to use later on bread, pasta, pizza, gnocchi, or bring it over to a friend in need of pesto. This recipe is best if used within a day. It's so tasty!
Do you have any favorite ways to use basil besides pesto? Let me know in the comments!