Taste of Europe Series: Tuscany – Basil Pesto

~basil~
Two of my favorite things from our summer garden are basil and tomatoes. I’m completely thrilled that both are abundant at the moment. The possibilities are endless with such  fabulous pairings of flavor.

Tuscany – Vineyards

Anna and I tried pesto with pasta in Italy – after all, how could we not? I’m afraid that it wasn’t as big of a deal to me as it should have been since pesto at home is a staple, sometimes lasting through the winter. There’s not much that can beat that! …Except for being in Italy, of course!
This recipe is simple and easy. The ingredients can be happily increased or decreased to suit one’s tastes without any ill effects on the finished product.
Basil Pesto
4 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 – 1/2 cup nuts – pine, walnut or pecan
2 cloves garlic, peeled
5 oz. Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
A food processor makes this job a breeze, but a blender is a fair option. I believe it was traditionally made with a mortar and pestle. Wow! I haven’t been that industrious yet.
Place the basil in the processor and add…
nuts
garlic
Parmesan cheese
I just break my cheese into bits, as you can see…
And start blending!
Some like it chunky…
Some like it…less chunky.
This is how we like ours.
Pesto browns very quickly, so the best way to keep it fresh is to flatten the top with a spoon and seal it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to a week. Freeze for several months in an airtight container.
Use on pizzas, in panini sandwiches, on pasta, with cream cheese on baguette slices, in pastries…need I go on?
Just enjoy!

 

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