My family’s garden is busting with produce and herbs this season, as we have been fortunate in the Ozarks with plenty of rain. Cantaloupes, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, beets, Swiss Chard, pumpkins and a wide array of herbs are just some of the fresh products found in our backyard garden.
Our herb plants have gone a little wild this season, especially our basil. We decided it was time to cut the plants back heavily and make some delicious pesto.
Pesto can dress up any pasta dish, baked potato or even make a simple pizza a special treat for the entire family for a weeknight meal. I like to make extra and freeze the pesto to use all year and savor the season!
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (or for a milder flavor pesto use half basil leaves and half spinach)
1/3 cup pine nuts (or use walnuts)
3 garlic cloves, mined
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Combine first 3 ingredients in blender or food processor. Pulse until a paste forms. Stop a few times and scrape the mixture down with a spoon. Next add the olive while the processor is on, add slowly. Finally, add cheese, salt and pepper; blend until smooth.
*If you will be freezing the pesto to savor the season- omit the cheese and place mixture in glass jars. When ready to use the frozen mixture, defrost and add the cheese.