Pesto is one ingenious way to bottle the true essence of summer.
Some fresh basil have filled my home and hands with a delightful aroma which I wish would last for ever. The big bunch of greens with the irresistible perfume, teased and pleased us for more than a week.
That is the stunning bush in my friend’s home, bathed in and nourished by the sun…
After a few pastas and the most beautiful ice cream, it was time to preserve the summer bounty away for later use.
No stories today, for I am a bit occupied. No food memories, for I never had a “basil pesto” while I grew up and never even heard of pine nuts. It is time to make memories now. I will leave you today with a small post and a simple DIY recipe; just enough to hold on to those lovely fragrance for a little bit longer. No cheese in this pesto as it was meant to be frozen. I do not miss the cheese much, but if it needs some in future, I will add it. It is just the basil, garlic and some lightly toasted nuts.
The cup and a half of pesto is in my freezer now.
A couple of things to mention here:
Note the color of the pesto in the photographs - you will see that they are dark, esp. on the top. The natural process of oxidation worked on it while I was taking photographs. To prevent this top the surface with sufficient oil oil.
Also if you want the bright vibrant color of the leaves to be retained in the pesto, briefly blanch the leaves before processing them.
Mortar and pestle – the traditional way is the best way to do this. Often times the blades in the food processor causes the discoloration.
Vegan Basil Pesto
Ingredients: (yields about 1.5 cups)
- 5-6 cups fresh basil leaves
- 10 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or as much as you need
- 1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts or walnuts
- 1.5 tablespoon lemon juice
- 5 grinds of black pepper, or as much as you want
- red crushed pepper if you want it spiced up
Roughly tear the basil leaves. Combine basil, toasted nuts (walnut or pine nut), garlic, salt and pepper in food processor & process while adding the olive oil in a steady stream. Stop the processor & scrape the sides if you need to. Process till everything is well combined & smooth.
Stir in the lemon juice, & the crushed pepper.
Store it in a sterilized clean container for a few days in the refrigerator. Freeze the extra for later use.