Basil Pesto

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Pesto is relatively new to me. It's really only been on my radar for the last year and boy how we've made sure to make up for lost time. Last year's garden produced so much basil I was at a loss for what to do with it. Enter the ideas of my trusty blogging friends and we've got pesto for the whole year.

This year our garden didn't produce as much basil, but we still had an armful that needed to be picked and put up for future use. Since pesto became such a big hit in our house, it was a no-brainer what I'd do with this years bundle of basil.

This is more of a method vs. real recipe since the texture and flavor is up to you. Some of my favorite ways to use this pesto are:
  • Toss with hot pasta and a splash of half and half
  • Toss a cube or 2 into some roasted cherry tomatoes for a fresh tasting pasta sauce (with or without zucchini)
  • Use as a marinade for chicken
  • Add a few cubes to an easy foil packet meal of shrimp and vegetables over rice
Here is what you'll need:
  • 5-7 garlic cloves
  • ~1/3 cup Parmesan, Pecorino and or Romano cheeses
  • ~1/3 cup nuts (I've used pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, and cashews are especially delicious!)
  • ~1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • a few handfuls of basil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper
Place garlic, cheese, nuts and oil in food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.

Add basil and pulse until smooth or your desired texture. Add salt and pepper to taste. You may need to add some olive oil to smooth out the texture.

Use immediately, or spoon into an ice cube tray, cover and freeze. Once frozen, remove from ice cube tray and store in the freezer in a ziplock bag. 

When you are ready to use it, take it out of the freezer that morning, or the night before, and place in the refrigerator to thaw. I've stored this up to 1 year in the freezer with good results. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Source: Adapted from Epicurious

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