Why you should plant lots and lots of basil!!!
It's time to be planning those vegetable gardens for summer preserving. One of my favorite pasta dishes is linguine with pesto. I love pesto and I finally found a recipe that takes that summer goodness and keeps it all winter. So here we go................
Cut 2 quarts of basil. Just fill up a couple of quart plastic storage bags. Then with scissors, trim the leaves off the stems and drop into a large bowl of water. The leaves are going to float. There may be a lot of sand and dirt in the leaves so it may take 4 or 5 waters to get them clean. You want no sand sinking to the bottom of the bowl.
Spin the leaves in a salad spinner to dry. And lay them out on paper towels for 2 hours minimum. You want the leaves very dry.
Then with the food processor or blender....... put in 1/2 c good quality olive oil, 2 thinly sliced cloves of garlic, a pinch of salt and 2 cups of packed basil leaves.
Pour into a freezer container and label.
Now -- in the dead of winter -- when you are dieing for a taste of summer...... thaw the container of pesto. Grind about 3 tablespoons of pine nuts (you could use pecans or walnuts if you like) in a mortar and pestle. Grate 1/2 cup of parmigiano cheese and 2 tablespoons of romano cheese and soften 3 tablespoons of butter. Mix the cheese together in a bowl, add the pine nuts and pesto mixture and mix well. Add the butter.
Serve over hot pasta .... you may want to reserve a couple of tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce. If you would like, serve with sauted mushrooms and garlic and toasted pine nuts.
This is pretty flexible -- you can use almost any hard Italian cheese, most any nut and definitely any pasta.
So plant lots of basil.............