With the bountiful summer garden yielding magnanimous amounts of aromatic amazing basil, a good recipe for pesto is absolutely essential. I found this recipe years ago and still consider it to be the best I've had anywhere. It is such an easy meal to make and bursting with delicious nutrition. Pesto, including this recipe can be frozen, savoring the delight and warmth of basil well into the winter months, until once again, basil grows triumphant in the kitchen garden.
4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
4 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts (I've even used pecans with great success)
3/4 cup loosely packed parsley sprigs
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano chesse, grated
1/2 teaspoon real salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ground black pepper
1. In a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine basil, garlic, nuts and parsley.
2. Process with on/off motions until mixture is coarsely chopped.
3. With the processor still running, add olive oil in a thin stream.
4. Stop machine; add Parmesan or Romano cheese, salt and pepper.
5. Process until as smooth as possible; add more salt to taste in needed. Serve mixed well with pasta of your choice.
To freeze pesto, pour into ice cubes trays, place in freezer and allow enough time to freeze till solid. Remove tray from the freezer, pop the pesto cubes out and place in a zipper freezer baggie. Another option would be to place one recipe of pesto in an appropriate-size canning jar, allowing an inch of headspace. Cap with seal and ring band and freeze. When ready to use, take out how many cubes you need and let thaw on a small plate; or if in a mason jar, remove jar and allow to thaw to room temperature. Combine with pasta per above.
Add cubed cooked chicken or cooked sliced Italian sausage to the pasta along with pesto sauce.