It is so easy to grow basil, as long as it gets enough sunlight. For the past several years I’ve grown it in containers instead of planting it directly in the ground and it has done quite well. I like being able to walk outside and cut whatever I need for recipes, and I especially love making fresh pesto at least once a year.
This week’s tip is on getting the most shelf life out of your pesto by freezing it in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer the pesto “cubes” to plastic bags, and – presto! – You can reap the rewards of your garden into the colder winter months. This stuff is awesome as a base to homemade pizza, in pasta dishes, on chicken, etc. And it is so easy to prepare.
I usually make pesto using traditional pine nuts, but decided to make it with roasted pistachios instead after trying the pesto shrimp crostini at Crave in Minneapolis. Love the pistachios in this!
- 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves (no stems)
- 4 cloves garlic
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan/Romano cheese
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup dry roasted pistachios
- Kosher salt to taste
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
Place the basil leaves, garlic, cheese, olive oil and pistachio nuts in a food processor or blender.
Blend until smooth. Taste, and add the salt and pepper accordingly. Blend again. You may need to add some extra olive oil to get the consistency you want – do so sparingly, a tablespoon or so at a time.
Fill an ice cube tray with the pesto and freeze overnight.
Pop the pesto “cubes” out of the tray (you may need to use a dinner knife to softly pry them out.)
Place a couple of cubes in plastic sandwich bags, and then put those in a large Ziploc bag, noting the date.
My pesto cubes are approximately 1 ½ tablespoons each – you will want to measure how much each compartment in your tray holds.
Here is a picture of just one of many pistachio pesto recipes. This one is a yummy pistachio pesto and cheese-filled, bacon-wrapped chicken. I will be posting the recipe soon – it is so, so good!
Eat, drink and be merry!