Are you keeping up with your basil, is your pinching on par with the herb's prolific leaves and spiky flowers that seem to appear overnight? Better get going on some pesto.
No longer an exotic condiment, pesto is everywhere, but that's not exactly a good thing. You see good pesto is hard to find. The best pesto happens at home.
There are lots of putzy pesto recipes out there. Many add an ingredient here, an extra step there, in an attempt to disguise the fact that the lovely green stuff is not that complicated. In fact it's dead simple.
I go one further and take out a few steps and leave only the essential elements.
This pesto is meant to be enjoyed or frozen immediately.
Easy Pesto Recipe
2 cups packed basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano (hard parmesan cheese)
1/4 cup pine nuts
At this point many people recommend adding salt, I think the cheese is salty enough. Some suggest lemon juice, I don't see the need. Others add Italian parsley, walnuts, etc. Why fix something that ain't broke?
I put all this into the food processor, I even grate the cheese right into the bowl to save on dirty dishes. I pulse and bounce the mixture until it's a coarse to smooth consistency according to how I like it.
If I'm serving it right then, I go ahead and add extra virgin olive oil from a mere drizzle to up to a 1/2 cup depending upon the dish. If I'm freezing it, I omit the olive oil. You see I'll add it when it's thawed for serving later. Leaving out the oil it can be frozen in flat plastic freezer bags, none of that fussy freezing into ice cube containers.
I press the air out of the bags until they're relatively flat so they fit into the smallest of nooks and crannies of the freezer. I can then use the entire package for pastas or just break off bits to add to soups and salads.
The best part about this pesto recipe is during the middle of winter when I crave that fresh green fragrance and sharp flavor of pesto and I think I've run out. Somehow, some way one of the slender bags slips down behind the ice cream carton and magically materializes at my moment of need.