I seem to struggle with some aspects of gardening (like spacing and actually facilitating the survival of some plants) but one thing that seems to thrive under my care is basil. Thank goodness then that we all love it. Well not quite all but Minnie will eat a leaf straight from the plant and was a wonderful assistant in out recent pesto making session.
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to seal
I was a very luck girl last birthday and received the wonderful Stephanie Alexander's 'Kitchen Garden Companion.' It really is a fantastic book for anyone that grows and cooks. I use it often, with either our own produce or in season veg from our local farmer. A cannot recommend it enough.
So thank you Stephanie for this great pesto recipe. We cut a big basket of basil from the garden and made a double batch of this sauce/condiment. We ate it simply stirred through pasta, made into petso butter, served with thick pork cutlets and also in my pasta sauce recipe (more of an 'idea' than a recipe) that I have added at the end.
(from Stephanie Alexander's 'Kitchen Garden Companion')1 cup firmly packed basil leaves
1/4 pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, crushed
60 Parmesan cheese, grated
Put basil leaves, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and salt in a blender or food processor and blend/whizz/process until smooth. Stop the machine a couple of times to scrape down the sides of the bowl. When evenly blended, scrape the paste into a bowl and stir in cheese (we actually added the cheese to the blender at the last minute and gave it a quick whizz - saves dirtying another bowl).
Spoon pesto into a clean glass jar. Push down with a spoon to ensure there are no air pockets. Cover top with the remaining olive oil (so the pesto will not brown). Store in the fridge.
(Stephanie does not indicate how long you can keep it for but we had ours for about 5 days and it was fine, as long as you keep out any air pockets and cover with olive oil).
My Pesto Cream Pasta Sauce
In frying pan cook several rashes of bacon over medium heat until starting to brown, add a couple of hand fulls of cherry tomatoes, cook until they start to split, reduce heat. Add a few big spoons of pesto, and stir through a few spoons of cream. Heat gently until combined. Serve on pasta of your choice.