Got Basil? Make Pesto

by Cate on June 8, 2009

Pesto Tortellini

Recently, a dear friend mentioned a favorite farm near her house.  I checked out the farm’s website (the turn of technology that a farm has its own website makes me laugh just a little), and noticed their recipe for pesto.  Given our abundance for fresh basil right now, that quickly led to Saturday night’s dinner.

We’re going to be moving some time over the summer, but I didn’t want to totally miss out on gardening, so this season, I put my focus on container gardening, that way everything can be moved easily without disturbing roots unnecessarily.  And we don’t miss a thing.  Into the pots went basil, oregano, cucumbers, radishes, cilantro, spinach, dill, chives and squash.  Some of the plantings have been growing fiercely (hello basil!), and as they’ve outgrown their pots, we’ve transplanted them into larger pots.  Nick has been doing a fantastic job of keeping everything well watered and eagerly checks on how everything is growing regularly.  I love that he gets to see something go from seed to table – so many great lessons there, and the more involved he is in the process, the more exciting it is… for both of us.

Our basil has been growing like crazy, so I sent him off to pick a bunch of leaves.  He was awed to find out that it would turn into a pasta dinner.  Armed with the pesto recipe from Renninger’s Farm, the dish was whipped up in nothing flat.  I loved this pesto.  Pesto tends to be a strong flavor, and this one, although unmistakably pesto, was a little more subtle, thereby making it a little more palatable for the kids.  A little garlic bread and some sliced fresh tomatoes with nothing more than a sprinkling of salt and dinner was done.  Fresh from the garden.  It doesn’t get better.

Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe
Recipe courtesy of Renninger’s Farm

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Makes 1 cup.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Caron June 8, 2009 at 10:11 pm

We are growing stuff like crazy this year too … and the garden to table method is really getting the kids (Will in particular) really interested in what we are eating and how we make it … I love how into the gardening (and cooking) he is. He and Nick would have great fun together growing!

Sarah Carons last blog post..Fresh From the Garden: Broccoli Rice with Lemon Herb Dressing

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Kelly June 8, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Moving already? It seems like just yesterday (2 years ago?) that I followed your unpacking adventures as I made my way through my own. Thanks for the pesto recipe, as my basil is finally starting to take off in the cold ND spring.

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Bridgett June 8, 2009 at 11:42 pm

Perfectly delicious!

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Debbie June 9, 2009 at 7:03 am

Thanks for posting this! Looks great and I have a bunch of basil growing right now that I need to use already!

Debbies last blog post..Lemon Blueberry Bread

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Patsy Kreitman June 9, 2009 at 8:03 am

I wanted to do more container gardening this year, but it just didn’t happen. I love pesto and have some basil waiting to be used so that may be how I end up using it! Delicious!

Patsy Kreitmans last blog post..A Family Recipe: Blueberry Crumb Cake

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noobcook June 9, 2009 at 8:39 am

Pesto is something I wanna try in future. And I am also growing some basil from seed so wish me luck in growing them, if I have a good harvest I can try your pesto recipe! hehe

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Natasha - 5 Star Foodie June 9, 2009 at 8:42 am

I just love the aroma of fresh basil in my kitchen. Pesto sounds great!

Natasha – 5 Star Foodies last blog post..Alinea: The Mystery and Magic

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Joanne June 9, 2009 at 9:00 am

Basil is something my parents have always grown although up until last year when I insisted on making pesto out of it, they always used store-bought pesto. There is nothing like a pesto and tortellini pasta salad, however. That spells out summer to me.

Joannes last blog post..My First Risotto

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Cathy June 9, 2009 at 10:37 am

I’m going to plant basil and mint this year as soon as hubby makes my flower bed for me :) The pesto looks delicious

Cathys last blog post..almost done…..

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brandi June 9, 2009 at 1:37 pm

For some reason, our basil is taking forever this year! But we have plenty of parsley :)

The pesto looks delicious!

brandis last blog post..Spicy Seconds

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donna June 9, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Oh this is what I will make with my extra basil. It looks fantastic!!

donnas last blog post..Bye Bye Winter Beef Stew, come vote for me.. yes, and cum shots

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lisaiscooking June 9, 2009 at 5:08 pm

Great idea! I have lots of basil right now too. Your pasta looks delicious!

lisaiscookings last blog post..Grilled Stuffed Jalapeños and Banana Peppers

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Katrina June 9, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Love pesto and basil! Looks de-lish!

Katrinas last blog post..TWD–Very Mini Apple Tartlets and Nectarine and Mango

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Ruth June 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Wow, your blog is incredible! I am mad about pesto but have never actually made it myself… a little shameful. Maybe this is the summer to give it a go!

Ruths last blog post..Two very cool things

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Jeff June 11, 2009 at 10:45 am

Happy to hear my basil is not the only one growing like a weed. Although my mint, sage, and tarragon are slowly taking over everything.

Nice idea on switching everything to container so you can move it. If I ever move it is going to have to be a fall move b/c I can not have a garden.

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