Last week the weather was alternatively sunny and humid or rainy and even more humid. The herbs really love it and the basil has grown like mad. By Saturday it was starting to bolt and take over the garden.
I was down to use it or lose it time. I waded through the mud, out to the garden and started cutting. Brought in all the cuttings, stripped the leaves and the bolted flowers. Ended up with 8 cups of washed and tightly packed leaves and bolted flowers.
Hard as I tried I couldn’t figure out anything else to do with all the basil. Pesto seemed the only real answer. I generally have a problem with pesto since it is usually very greasy (oily), sometimes bitter and it is one of the things that doesn’t seem to taste right with out cheese. Hard as I tried I couldn’t figure out anything else to do with all the basil so Pesto it was!
Pulled out the Ninja and went to work making:
- Make the Pesto in a Ninja or heavy duty food processor by combining:
- 1 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1 large bulb on fresh garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 8 cups of basil leaves
- Pulse the the mixture until the whole batch was roughly mixed adding a little water as needed
- The pulsing took about five minutes. Had to get the spatula into the mixture and clean down the sides 4 times. When it gets really gummy add a little water at a time up to 1/4 cup.
- Remove 3/54 of the mixture into a bowl
- Add the remaining ingredients and blend until liquified:
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- Additional garlic if needed
- Additional olive oil if desired
- Add the liquefied ingredients to the chopped mixture and stir well
This is a huge batch. You can cut this down to 1/2 or even a quarter of the recipe and do just fine. The trick is blending the pine nuts, garlic and oil with the leaves before adding anything else.
This pesto came out creamy instead of greasy. It looked almost like a basil mayo. For the fist time ever I did not miss the cheese at all!
Best of all, for some unknown reason it was not at all bitter. . I have always had a theory that the bitterness comes from the pine nuts being old. Now I am wondering since since these pine nuts were about six months old. They were, however, stored in an airtight jar so that might have made the difference. Or maybe it was just a better pine nut than usual although I got the same bag from Costco that I always get. Who knows. One of the mysteries of cooking! But no matter, I’m not one to argue with success!
I figured I would freeze at least 1/2 of it and have plenty for the weekend and the future. By Sunday evening David, Meggan, Melissa and I had managed to eat 90% of it. Used it in sandwiches, as salad dressing and dip. It just vanished!