During the winter months I appreciate my homemade Basil Pesto. Each Spring, I plant eight to ten Genovese Basil plants. (also known as sweet basil) This is an annual plant and grows quickly in Northeast Ohio. I usually get two crops if I leave 2-4 leaves of growth at the plant base when harvesting the first time. Depending on the weather, I usually harvest late July and late September.
There are many varieties of Basil: Purple, Greek, Cinnamon, Lemon, Thai. But for my taste, Sweet Basil works best for pesto making and adding fresh to salads, and homemade pizza with mozzarella and ripe tomatoes. Basil is a member of the renowned mint family, which, when used in cooking, stimulates digestion and is a beneficial antioxidant.
- 3 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves
- 1 1/2 cups Chopped Walnuts
- 4 Cloves Garlic, peeled
- 1 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- Can salt and pepper to taste.
- Directions: Use a Food Processor and place the ingredients in order of: garlic cloves, walnuts. Process 10 seconds. Add 1/2 cup Olive Oil, process 10 seconds. Add rest of Olive Oil and Parmesan Cheese. Process 15-20 seconds. Check the texture of pesto, it should be a moist paste. Add Olive Oil if needed.
- Store in small 4 oz mason jars or freeze in ice cube tray. The jar pesto is good for a few days; that's why I usually freeze the pesto so the portions are similar (about 2 Tbsps.) and last for months in the freezer. Wrap the ice cube tray in plastic wrap.