Out at the farm, the basil’s growing like crazy, which is why everyone went home with giant bags of it yesterday. The natural thing to do with that, of course, is make pesto. Lots and lots of pesto. You can’t can pesto to preserve it for the future, but you can freeze it, which is what we recommend. What you may not know is that you can also make pesto out of arugula (or cilantro or a number of other herbs), or use a blend. Here’s a basic pesto recipe that you can play with to make use of your basil and arugula this week:
2 cups packed basil (or arugula, cilantro, etc) leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c. pine nuts (you can also substitute in other nuts here – I like cashews)
2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c. hard Italian grating cheese (Parmesan, Romano, Asiago, etc.)
Combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and process till coarsely chopped (or, if you prefer a more rustic pesto and/or don’t have a food processor, pile them all together on a cutting board and mince the heck out of them, then transfer to a bowl). Add the cheese and the oil and process till smooth.
If you plan to freeze it, I suggest freezing it in ice cube trays, the popping out the pesto cubes and storing them in a freezer bag. This makes it easier to unfreeze portions at a time, as well as making it quicker to defrost.
Happy pesto making!