Are y’all sick of the tomato and herb overload around here yet?
Gardens are such a funny thing- ten months of the year, I am looking at the soon-to-be-garden or not-yet-producing-garden or once-garden, wishing for September. And then IN September, the constant hum of the dehydrator and whir of the food processor makes the ‘fun part’ of the garden sort of a blur.
That being said, basil might win the award for Most Useful Item Grown in the Garden just because of this pesto recipe (which, incidentally, might be my favorite perk of the garden…). It’s a toss up between this and the sundried tomatoes (good alone, better together). Too close to call.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that we eat a heckuvalota pesto in the winter. Like every week alot (between homemade pizza and pesto pasta). It is delicious, cheap, and, since it freezes well, extends the freshness of the garden (and the financial benefit of the garden) through the winter!
To support our pesto habit, we grow a ton of basil. And then I make batch after batch of pesto. Most of it goes into ice cube trays for our winter pesto-ing, but I have to admit that it’s probably best straight from the food processor, dropped in large dollops on into a bowl of pasta with tomatoes from the garden and fresh mozzarella. Mmmmm.
1 1/2 c basil
1 1/2 c spinach*
1/2 c parmesan
4-10 garlic cloves (adjust depending on how much you love garlic)
1/2 c walnuts (you can also use pine nuts, but walnuts are much less pricey right now)
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c olive oil
*You can just as easily make this entirely with basil (and we sometimes do). Cutting it with spinach doesn’t change the flavor much, but makes it more affordable.
Mix everything in the food processor, minus the olive oil and the lemon juice.
Once everything is blended, add in the olive oil and lemon juice and mix.
Reserve some of the pesto for dinner! Seriously.
Scoop the rest of the basil into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, store in ziploc freezer bags (mark with the date) and use all winter.**
**A note about serving size- we usually use about 5 ‘cubes’ of pesto to make our family dinners. We defrost it first in the microwave if we’re using it on pizza, but, if we’re making pasta, just drop the frozen cubes into a warm pot of noodles- no defrosting necessary.