Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fresh from the Garden: Basil Pesto

It's the world's klutziest woman checking back in. :) I got a new accessory today - an arm sling.Turns out I separated my right shoulder and I get to have my arm in a sling for a month while it heals. And, yes, I am right-handed. Thankfully, I have plenty of Advil in my stockpile (that I got for free with coupons, thank you very much!) and I still have a sense of humor about the whole thing. Sometimes if you don't laugh, you'll cry.

With that out of the way, here's the latest edition to my "Fresh From the Garden" recipe collection - pesto. I know, I know. Pesto isn't exactly new and innovative. But when it is made with garlic and basil from your own garden - oh. my. gravy. So delicious! My kids practically lap it up. 

This pesto recipe is the best one I have found. The simple step of blanching the garlic keeps it from being too strong and overpowering. The spicy basil and pungent garlic are in perfect balance with the creamy pine nuts. Dang it. I've made myself drool just typing this.

Pesto fresh from the food processor

Basil Pesto
Adapted from The Best Recipe  (An A+ cookbook that I highly recommend.) 

3 medium garlic cloves (unpeeled)
1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted (In a pinch, I've used almonds, walnuts, or even pecans)
2 c. packed basil leaves
7 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Thread the garlic cloves on a skewer. Lower skewered garlic into a pot of boiling water. Boil for 45 seconds and then run garlic under cold water to stop the cooking. Remove from the skewer, peel, and mince.

Place basil in a freezer bag. Pound with something heavy (I use the flat side of my meat tenderizer) until the leaves are bruised. This step really intensifies the basil flavor.

Place all ingredients except cheese in work bowl of food processor; process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in cheese plus salt to taste.

Yield: Enough pesto for 1 lb pasta

Note: If you are using this pesto on pasta, save back a cup or so of the pasta cooking water and add it to the pesto. This loosens up the pesto just enough and the starch in the cooking water helps the whole thing "meld".

Penne alla pesto - yummers!


  1. Sorry about your arm. If it makes you feel any better, I tore my pectoral muscle in 2009 and I had to be in one of those slings for 12 weeks after my surgery, with an additional 12 weeks of physical therapy. Pesto looks good.

  2. Oh Emily that is bad luck about your arm, but good that you have had it seen to and on the way to recovery. I love Pesto but have never been game to try it - I think I will have to give your recipe a go :-)

  3. I feel your pain! I still remember when that happened to me (18 years ago, wow does time fly!), trying to go shopping with 2 small kids (my girls were 1 & 5), and having to sign a check at the grocery store with my left hand because my right arm was completely wrapped & bound. Hope you heal fast & easily!