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Pesto recipe

SweetPea Oct 1, 2008 05:00 AM

The dog attacked my basil plant and I need to make pesto tonight to freeze. Any tried and true recipes out there? Thanks!

  1. Emmmily Oct 1, 2008 01:44 PM

    I love the pesto recipe from the NY Times International cookbook, replacing about 1/3 of the basil with spinach and maybe halving the olive oil (I like my pesto dense and easily spreadable on a sandwich - you can always add oil later). I don't have it in front of me, but it's approximately this:

    1 cup basil (or 2/3c basil and 1/3c spinach, or thereabouts)
    3/4 cup cheese (I use a mix of romano and parmeggiano, also about 2:1)
    1/4 cup pine nuts (I usually use walnuts instead)
    a clove or two of garlic
    1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

    Put the basil, cheese, garlic , and a splash of oil in the food processor and blend. Add the nuts and blend again. Add the oil and blend once more. Voila.

    I generally make a few gallons over the summer and freeze it to eat throughout the year, with no ill textural effects.

    1. n
      nemo Oct 1, 2008 07:43 AM

      You may want to consider not adding the nuts and cheese if you're going to freeze it. I find they get a little chewy once frozen. Add them after thawing.

      6 Replies
      1. re: nemo
        valerie Oct 1, 2008 08:38 AM

        Although I hear people say this about freezing pesto, I make it all the time and freeze it and I have never had a problem with taste or consistency. I do, however, add more cheese when it thaws out from the freezer.

        1. re: valerie
          roxlet Oct 1, 2008 08:40 AM

          Ditto. But I always add more cheese when serving whether freshly made or from the freezer.

          1. re: roxlet
            nemo Oct 1, 2008 12:12 PM

            Valerie and Roxlet: If you add more cheese anyway, why bother in the first place? I've only ever used pine nuts, and I do find them to lose their buttery quality. Maybe other nuts don't suffer. I just prefer freshly grated cheese and fresh pine nuts. Also, if I just want to toss a bag of the basil/oil/garlic paste in a pot of soup or batch of ratatouille or whatever, I'm not wasting expensive pine nuts which get lost when they're ground. And in those cases, it's the basil flavor I want anyhow. Bowls of toasted pine nuts and grated Parm can be served on the side.

            1. re: nemo
              roxlet Oct 1, 2008 02:01 PM

              I add the cheese because I like to adjust all the flavors as I am making it. Like many pasta dishes, I serve pesto with additional cheese on the side. If I wanted to make a plain basil paste to use in other dishes, I suppose I could follow your suggestion. And I guess that you could add the garlic later, and the olive oil, and just chop up the basil. But it's just the way I like to make pesto.

              1. re: nemo
                valerie Oct 1, 2008 04:07 PM

                I find that it's easier to make a big batch all at once. The day I make it, we have it for dinner. Then I portion out the remaining pesto and put it in the freezer. So I like it all done at once. I don't want to go back and then start grinding up the pine nuts after the fact. The cheese, I suppose, could go in after I take it out of the freezer, but, like I've said, we haven't had a problem with the taste or texture. And the reason I add more cheese later on is, well, I guess we just like a lot of cheese!

                1. re: valerie
                  roxlet Oct 2, 2008 05:08 AM

                  valerie, I'm with you on liking a lot of cheese!!!

        2. v
          valerie Oct 1, 2008 07:32 AM

          This is a link to Marcella Hazan's pesto. I make it all the time, although I have never added butter.


          2 Replies
          1. re: valerie
            MMRuth Oct 1, 2008 07:33 AM

            That's the recipe I use as well, and I also don't add the butter.

            1. re: valerie
              dordogne Oct 1, 2008 01:19 PM

              DO try it with the softened butter at the end. It adds a wonderful richness and mouth feel to the sauce and softens the bite of the raw garlic (I add more than than the 2 cloves specified).

            2. roxlet Oct 1, 2008 05:10 AM

              I never work with a recipe -- just ingredients that you can add and then taste as you go along. A lot depends on your basil. Grind it up in a blender or food processor with a good quality olive oil and garlic, add pine nuts and a mixture of parmesan and pecorino. Taste. Adjust. Taste adjust. Taste. Adjust. Enjoy! Try have boiled potatoes and string beans with the pasta and pesto, which is the true Genovese way! And btw, the Genovese use a very specific type of basil for pesto, somewhat smaller-leaved and more intense than the usual run-of-the-mill basil we usually have.

              3 Replies
              1. re: roxlet
                withalonge Oct 1, 2008 06:23 AM

                i made a large batch of pesto this weekend... trying to beat the first frost...

                i use similar approach to roxlet... though i add a little parsley (about two handfuls) and a little lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon) I've also played with using walnuts as an alternative to pine nuts on occassion.

                potatoes & grren beans are delicious w/ basil pesto,but my favorite would be to serve w/ a big bowl of garden fresh tomatoes... sliced and tossed w/ some salt, pepper & a little balsamic vinegar.... so good.

                i also like to use any leftover pesto on a roasted veg sammie w/ fresh mozz cheese... and maybe some carmelized balsamic onions... mmmm

                1. re: withalonge
                  Sooeygun Oct 1, 2008 07:34 AM

                  I make a batch with cashews each year, in addition to the pine nut version. It's so good.

                  My ratio, I think, is about 2 cups of basil leaves to 1/3 cup of nuts, couple of cloves of garlic and everything else to taste.

                2. re: roxlet
                  normalheightsfoodie Oct 1, 2008 04:17 PM

                  The pecorino really gives it that little extra kick.

                  I made pesto yesterday for my son's elementary school's garden club, I used a similar recipe as above, except we used walnuts and added a pinch of salt, the kids went nuts and they all loved it. Good Luck.

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