My Friday favorite…homemade pesto

Earlier I promised from time to time to share some of my favorite recipes.  I decided when I looked at my thriving basil plant that is almost at the point of flowering, it was time to make my favorite pesto.  I love to use it on pizzas, pasta, grilled or baked chicken, and sometimes, I let it sit out a bit and just eat it over fresh tomatoes.  I love the color of fresh pesto.  It is the most beautiful green and I cannot tell you how my kitchen smells once I start chopping the basil.  Some smells cannot be described with words.  Fresh, beautiful, and oh……the taste!  Who doesn’t feel proud to reap the rewards of growing herbs.

I love having this pesto on hand come October when my plant has decided its growing season is over.  She has given herself and is no longer willing to produce.img_3223-1.jpgimg_3224-1This year has been a great year for herbs because we have had plenty of rain.  The rain is good for everything and my herbs have truly thrived this year.   Hasn’t hurt my feelings that the air conditioner has had a little rest also!

This pesto is so easy to make and takes only minutes.  I really think I could eat it by the spoonful, but I haven’t tried.  The temptation is strong!  I can assure you this is the night we will make homemade pizzas and perhaps tomorrow it will sit atop a beautiful fresh tomato for my lunch.

After picking and washing approximately 4 cups of fresh basil leaves, I place 1/4 cup pine nuts in the microwave and toast them for approximately 2 minutes.  After 1 minute, it is wise to go with 15 second intervals so the nuts don’t get burned.  I do this instead of turning on the oven for a few nuts.  If I am making a large batch, I either place the nuts in the oven or toast in a skillet on top of the stove.  The microwave works for me and comes in handy for one batch.   I then allow the nuts to cool, which helps the flavor to come up and allows the nuts  to crisp up.  Some people use walnuts because of the price of pine nuts, but I buy pine nuts in bulk and keep in freezer.

Like any good carpenter would tell you, the tools in a kitchen are worth their cost and even if used for only one process, the tool can change your attitude about cooking.  I love my garlic press and I love my hard cheese grater.  Both tools are used often in my home.  I grate 2 oz Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and crush 3 cloves garlic.  Your garlic taste may be different, so feel free to add or take away.  If I have a fresh lemon on hand, I may zest a small amount of peel in also.  I enjoy that flavor, especially in the summer, but if I don’t have lemon, I just move on.  I toss in 1/4 teaspoon salt and place all in a food processor or when making one batch I use my NutriBullet. I usually get this chopping and then slowly start adding 1/2 cup olive oil at a drizzling pace.   This is a fun, quick job for me and I love sharing my beautiful pesto with friends.  There is nothing that smells more like summertime to me than basil.   A nice glass of basil lemonade also helps me enjoy the summer days…

 

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