“Pesto; The Quiche of the ’80’s”
It’s still hot, hitting the nineties, but something is changing. You can see it in the angle of the sunlight, especially at sun rise and sun set, the directions have changed, the angles have changed, and the colors are richer.
Time to harvest the basil. This is not my garden, nor my basket, nor my garden, but the resemblance is uncanny, and this is a great photo for illustrative purposes.
We grow a lot of basil, pots and pots of basil. After early church, I hit the pots with my garden shears. I trim off all the little flowers on top (I’ve been doing this all summer, but I never seem to keep on top of it) and then I trim back the branches, laden with basil. I have an entire basket full of Genovese, which, after picking off the leaves, washing them and spinning them dry, come to 12 cups of basil.
Doesn’t everything go better with a little pesto? I love to smear a little on my BLT’s, I love to pop a spoonful into a soup, and oh my holy tomato, basil pesto on pasta, to die for. I know what I want to do, but I want to be sure I get proportions right, so I go to The Silver Palate Cookbook, it came out years and years ago and has a lot of basic but really really good recipes. So, how old is this cookbook? When I was looking at the Pesto page, there was a box that said “Pesto – the quiche of the ’80’s” or something like that which implied pesto was the newest, most wonderful thing – in the ’80’s.
“????” I thought.
Isn’t pesto one of those classics? Maybe it’s because we frequented Italian restaurants when I was going to high school in Germany, but I remember pesto. It’s not like quiche (which, by the way, is my grandson’s favorite thing), it’s no passing trend, pesto is classico!
I made all the batches with garlic, lots of garlic, about triple what the recipe calls for, and I roasted it before I tossed it in. One batch I made with almonds, one batch with sunflower seeds and the last batch with my all time favorite, walnuts. I labeled little snack bags, put globs of pesto in them, sealed them up, put them all in one big gallon sized plastic bag and sealed that up and put the whole lot in the freezer, to pull on on those days when I need a pop of flavor and a taste of the long hot summer.
Here is my variation on the Silver Palate recipe:
Basil Genovese Pesto
4 cups basil, packed, washed, dried in salad spinner (or whatever) still fresh and green
8 – 12 cloves garlic, peeled, roasted
2/3 cup really good olive oil
some salt and some pepper. The best thing is coarsely ground salt and coarsely ground pepper that you’ve ground yourself.
about 1/2 cup nuts. Pine nuts are classic, as are walnuts, but pesto is one of those dishes with a lot of variation based on what God’s great earth hath provided. I don’t even measure the nuts, just eyeball it. I used walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds in separate batches.
In a nice large food processor, put in nuts, garlic, salt, pepper, oil and then pack in 4 cups of basil. Process until you have a gritty ball. You won’t be able to see any leaves, but you will be able to see specks of white. Spoon into freezer containers in usable amounts and freeze.