I hope you are enjoying all the fresh tastes of summer. Whether you grow vegetables or you go to the local farmer markets, fresh summer foods start with fresh locally grown food. My poor little attempts at vegetable gardening send me to the farmer's markets. There is hardly enough sun to grow much in my garden.
I planted four Big Boy tomato plants and am now down to one pitiful looking plant. I do have a couple green pepper plants that are producing peppers! Yay!
The star of my efforts this year is basil. Basil is just what you need to make great Italian dishes. I remember the first time I had fresh basil, fresh mozzarella and tomatoes drizzled with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar--Yummy! It's such a simple combination, but so delicious! The Italians are masters at making simple meals with few ingredients. Another great way Italians use basil is by making pesto. I'm making pesto on a regular basis. It's so versatile and can be just what is needed to add to a sandwich or pasta and elevate your dish. Pesto comes from the Italian word for pounded. Pesto can be made with a mortar and pestle, but I like to do it the easy way--in a food processor.
In honor of Julia Child's birthday today, I'd like to show you how I make pesto. Julia taught me many things in my kitchen--and the biggest one is to use fresh herbs when possible.
Here is my simple recipe for pesto. Wash enough basil and place leaves only in large bowl of food processor.
Add a handful of chopped, roasted pecans and a couple of cloves of garlic. You really can use walnuts or pine nuts in your pesto. It's up to you.
Add a 2 or 3 inch cube of Parmesan cheese and process until fine.
We're almost done. All you have to do now is put the top back on your processor and pour extra virgin olive oil in the feeder tube. Add enough until it's a spreadable mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I store my pesto in a glass container and keep it in the fridge. Use up your pesto within a week or store it in the freezer for future use. Some folks put it in ice cube trays and then freeze and store frozen pieces in a Ziploc bag in the freezer.
Pesto enhances so many dishes from pasta to salads to sandwiches. It gives a fresh flavor to your meals.
I often saute' chicken and mix rigatoni and pesto for a simple dinner. Just add a salad and you're set!
In Italy, basil is always a token of love. ♥