Basil for pesto

Perfect Pesto, Fresh or Frozen

Cold weather has arrived! Time to harvest the basil and parsley and make pesto, either to enjoy right now or to freeze in small amounts to use all winter.

Here’s my favorite recipe. Easy to make. Serve immediately whatever amount you choose, then store the remainder in a covered jar in the refrigerator. Or, spoon into ice cube trays and freeze, then store frozen cubs in the freezer in a plastic Ziploc bag. Makes about ten frozen cubes of pesto.

Traditionally, one uses toasted pine nuts, but here in Texas pecans are more readily available and cheaper, so that’s what I use instead. Works great.

Frozen pesto cubes are so handy when I want a quick meal with little effort. Because I freeze the pesto in ice cube trays and, when frozen, removed all the cubes into a freezer bag together, any time later, I can just reach in the freezer and pull out a single cube of pesto for use. If I am using the pesto with pasta, while the water is boiling to cook the pasta, I place in a metal bowl (the right size to set over the pot of heating water) a frozen pesto cube and some additional olive oil. The frozen cube melts, the pesto becomes hot and ready to use, and I usually just drain and rinse the pasta and put it right into the metal bowl with the pesto, add more grated Parmesan cheese, stir, and serve. Presto, pesto! Pesto cubes can also be dropped into hot soup, etc. Very handy, and delicious.

Sometimes when I am making pesto to store in the freezer and I don’t have Parmesan on hand, I leave out the Parmesan from the recipe for freezing, as it can easily be added at the time of use.

Put all the following in a food processor or blender and process until desired smoothness.

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 or more cloves of garlic
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed tightly to measure
½ cup fresh parsley, packed tightly to measure
¼ cup toasted finely chopped nuts
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese