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Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.


Pesto Three Ways

Pesto 

Every summer, I make sure that I get plenty of pesto made and put up in little tubs in the freezer — enough to get me through the winter. There are three different kinds I like to have on hand for use in various dishes. It’s easy to make, freezes well, and makes an ordinary meal into something special.

Freezing pesto. I must have several tubs of various pestos to get me through the winter!  I make a large batch – my ancient Cuisinart will do about 8 cups of basil leaves. When the pesto is prepared, I divide it into 4-ounce and 8-ounce freezer tubs, smooth the surface and coat with more olive oil. Stack these in the freezer. If I scoop out just part of a tub, I add more oil to protect it.

A note on garlic. Some recipes for pesto call for a lot of raw garlic and it will sometimes overpower the basil. I like to use roasted garlic instead so that I get a base note of sweet garlic. (But if you like raw garlic, by all means use it.)

Pesto Recipe (Italy)

I love this traditional pesto, though I use pecans instead of pine nuts, and I stir it into pasta, spread it on Italian-style sandwiches, mix it into hummus, and even make spiral bread. Multiply this recipe by as many cups of fresh basil you have. The more, the merrier. Yields one cup.

Ingredients

• 2 medium cloves garlic, mashed or twice as much roasted garlic
• 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
• 2 cups basil leaves, packed
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions

Wash the basil and drain well. If you have a salad spinner, use that or just shake the basil to remove as much moisture as possible. Start with the garlic, nuts and cheese: Process the trio one minute until well mixed, then start putting in handfuls of the basil. When the basil is incorporated, add the olive oil slowly until you have a lovely, slightly grainy texture. If you’re not eating this immediately, put it into a bowl, smooth the surface and coat it with a film of olive oil to prevent darkening.

Pistou Recipe (Provence)

This is the Provencal version of basil puree. Use it much the same as the Italian Pesto. In the South of France, a big dollop of pistou is added to their delicious vegetable soup. I must admit, I find myself just eating it out of the processor. Yields one cup

Ingredients

• 4 medium cloves garlic, mashed, or twice as much roasted garlic
• 6 halves dried tomatoes, softened if necessary*
• 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 2 cups fresh basil leaves
• 1/4 to 1/2 cup Extra Virgin olive oil

* If the tomatoes seem hard, put them in a small bowl with a bit of plain water for just a couple minutes until they’re pliable.

Directions

Wash the basil and drain well. If you have a salad spinner, use that or just shake to remove as much moisture as possible. Start with the garlic, tomatoes and cheese: Process these a minute until well mixed, then start putting in handfuls of the basil. When the basil is incorporated, add the olive oil slowly until you have a grainy texture. If you’re not eating this immediately, put it into a bowl, smooth the surface and coat it with a film of olive oil to prevent darkening.

Hatch Pesto Recipe

Hatch peppers are a Southwestern chile — big, fat chiles. Other Southwest type or even big Italian type frying peppers, banana or cubanelle peppers can be substituted, but not the jalapeno or other hot peppers. If the wonderful Hatch peppers aren’t available and you want to grow your own, look for the Cubanelle or Carmen in the Fedco Seeds catalog for a milder pepper. For a little heat, choose Highlander or Numex Joe Parker in Johnny’s Selected Seeds catalog.

Make your most delicious chicken-pesto pasta with this one, add it to chicken enchiladas or tacos, stir it into the dressing for a Southwest chicken salad, or add it to a fajita platter.  It’s absolutely yummy. Yields one cup.

Ingredients

• 2 medium cloves garlic, mashed or twice as much roasted garlic
• 1 large Hatch chili pepper - mild or hot, you choose - seeded and cut up
• 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
• 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 2 cups basil leaves, packed
• 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil

Wash the basil and drain well. If you have a salad spinner, use that or just shake it. Start with the garlic, pepper, nuts and cheese. Process these for one minute until well mixed and the pepper is chopped, then start putting in handfuls of the basil. When the basil is incorporated, add the olive oil slowly until you have a lovely grainy texture. If you’re not eating this immediately, put it into a bowl, smooth the surface and coat it with a film of olive oil to prevent darkening.


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