Planning now for winter -- Fresh pesto 365 days a year

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Planning now for winter -- Fresh pesto 365 days a year

Postby Rico » Sun Aug 16, 2009 3:43 pm

I know it’s still summer, but now is the time to start thinking about winter and food. Let me share with you all something I’ve been doing with herbs for years…and something that will give you a fresh garden taste to pasta, soups and stews, even on Christmas Eve.

I make fresh pesto throughout the spring and summer when my herbs are plentiful, and store it in a special way that makes it available to me 365 days a year. The secret is freezing it in ice cube trays….tightly sealed with plastic wrap…and ready for use one cube at a time throughout the year.

I’ve seen the basil “pesto” sold in stores. I bought it once, tasted it, and then promptly threw it away. It’s crap. Avoid it. It has a shelf life of zero and is outrageously expensive compared to the plan below.

Try this one instead, and don’t break the bank paying for pine nuts. They’re too expensive. I prefer to use pistachio nuts, but I’ve used almonds, walnuts, pecans, and even unsalted peanuts in a pinch. Any nut will do. Doesn't it always? :lol:

I also include fresh oregano in my pesto only because it grows in my garden like weed. Although the formula below only makes about one cup of pesto (and will barely fill one cheap, plastic, ice cube tray), I encourage you to double or triple it. It will be worth the effort.

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe
INGREDIENTS
• 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
• 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
• 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• Special equipment needed: A food processor

1 Combine the basil in with the nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Makes 1 cup.

Now take that pesto and with a small spoon and a clean finger, fill those ice cube trays...the little blue ones that you can find at any dollar store. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. You can remove the cubes as you need them.

Best use is this:

Remove a cube (or two) from the trays and saute in a few drops of olive oil (remember...there's already alot of oil already in the pesto.) In the meantime...boil some of your favorite pasta (I prefer pene. :lol: ). Drain the pasta and toss into the pan with the warm pesto. Add some of the water from the pasta water to thin the sauce if necessary. Sprinkle with freshly grated parm cheese if desired.
In the Beginning there was nothing, and God said: 'Let there be Light." There was still nothing, but you could see it.
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Rico
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Re: Planning now for winter -- Fresh pesto 365 days a year

Postby Phoenix6570 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:56 pm

Nice tips. I'll definitely keep that in mind when I have my own place.
"As long as a person doesn't admit he's defeated, he is not defeated-- he's just a little behind, and isn't through fighting" ~ Darrel Royal
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Re: Planning now for winter -- Fresh pesto 365 days a year

Postby Rico » Mon May 31, 2010 5:44 pm

I'm bumping this up because somebody asked me today about pesto, and it's only May and I've already filled 2 ice-cube trays with pesto using this method. The way things are going with my basil this year, there are many more trays/cubes to come. It's all made fresh from the garden. Do it this way and you can have pasta with pesto on Christmas Eve and it will taste like you just picked it.
In the Beginning there was nothing, and God said: 'Let there be Light." There was still nothing, but you could see it.
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