Southern Summer Pesto

Active time: 18 minutes
Total time: 18 minutes
Makes 18 servings, ¼ cup each

6 ounces Parmesan, optional (128 grams)
8 garlic cloves (40 grams)
4 cups tightly packed basil leaves (100 grams)
3 cups pecan pieces (300 grams)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste, optional

Rinse basil well in a bowl of water. Let it soak until needed.

Grate Parmesan and set aside. Set up your food processor with the cutting blade or use a blender. Turn the machine on and drop garlic in while the blade is turning. Turn off when garlic is minced, after about 10 seconds.

Give basil a good swish in water, then dry by spinning in a salad spinner or rolling gently in a towel. Remove stems and put leaves in food processor or blender. Put pecans and salt on top of leaves. Process until finely chopped but still a bit rough.

With the machine going, slowly pour in olive oil.

Stop the machine and add Parmesan. Process briefly to mix. Taste and adjust seasonings.

To serve, stir pesto into hot cooked pasta, spread on bread or crackers, or stir into hot green beans. Eat warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate or freeze any extra, pressing plastic wrap onto surface to prevent browning.

Notes:

Save the basil stems and cheese rind, if you are using block Parmesan, for Vichyssoise Encore (page 199). The high level of tannin in basil stems turns pesto dark faster.

Spread out the expenses when making a big batch to freeze by leaving out the cheese. When ready to use, thaw pesto and stir in grated cheese.


From Wildly Affordable Organic
by Linda Watson, published by Da Capo Lifelong